HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Environment & Energy » Environment & Energy (Group) » American Electric Cars Ge...

Tue Oct 18, 2016, 08:14 PM

American Electric Cars Generally Meet the 2030 climate Goals, and Almost the 2040 Goals.

I'm not a fan of electric cars, because, um, I'm not a fan of cars period.

All of the dancing around claims that cars are, or can be, made sustainable is a ridiculous fantasy. The rise of the automobile and the car CULTure it enabled is the primary example in my mind why distributed energy is a very dangerous idea. Other than fire pits and coal and wood burning stoves, the car is the oldest, and perhaps most pernicious form of distributed energy there is and every bit of the environment has suffered as a result of their rise, the atmosphere, fresh water resources, oceanic and other saline water resources, the soil, indeed the bedrock of land masses from Greenland to North America to South America, Asia, Europe, Australia and Africa.

Distributed energy requires distributed pollution, and there is no living thing on the face of this planet which is free of automotive waste of one type or another, and there is no mechanism for remediating this pollution.

I consider that the support for the Tesla automobile, for one example, which is inexplicably popular on the left despite the fact that these piles of future electronic waste, the Tesla cars, are designed for and by billionaires and millionaires is an absurd crime against the future, but no one is asking my opinion.

Tesla cars have nothing, nothing at all, to do with what once were the traditional goals of the Democratic Party which used to be providing a path for all people to enjoy the benefits of our national resources, and not just the ultra rich and yet if one hangs out on Democratic Party websites, one will see people drooling all over one another in praise of this, um, consumer junk.

This said, people nonetheless set "goals" for reducing automotive pollution, just like people set goals for a wide variety of other pernicious practices, like say preventing the wide spread use of sugary soft drinks to reduce diabetes rates. (Diabetes has never killed as many people as air pollution, but no matter...)

The graphic below comes from a publication in one of my favorite journals, Environmental Science and Technology.

Here is a link to the paper, which is behind a firewall, but can be accessed if one is not a subscriber, in a good scientific library:

Personal Vehicles Evaluated against Climate Change Mitigation Targets (Marco Miotti†⊥, Geoffrey J. Supran†‡⊥, Ella J. Kim§, and Jessika E. Trancik*†∥ , Environ. Sci. Technol., 2016, 50 (20), pp 10795–10804)

The graphic speaks for itself. Here's the caption though:

Figure 1. (a) Cost-carbon space for light-duty vehicles, assuming a 14 year lifetime, 12 100 miles driven annually, and an 8% discount rate. Data points show the most popular internal-combustion-engine vehicles (ICEVs; including standard, diesel, and E85 corn-ethanol combustion), hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in 2014, as well as one of the first fully commercial fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs). For most models, the most affordable trim is analyzed. For models that are offered with different powertrain technologies, the trims are adjusted to match feature sets. The shaded areas are a visual approximation of the space covered by these models. The emission intensity of electricity used assumes the average U.S. electricity mix (623 gCO2eq/kWh). The FCV is modeled for hydrogen produced either by electrolysis or by steam methane reforming. Horizontal dotted lines indicate GHG emission targets in 2030, 2040, and 2050 intended to be consistent with holding global warming below 2 °C. Panel b shows the same as panel a but for upfront vehicle prices only, based on MSRPs. (c–f) Comparisons of different powertrain technologies used in the same car models ("conventional" powertrains include gasoline and diesel combustion engines). Because trims of these comparisons are harmonized, some models (mostly ICEVs) would be available in more affordable versions with fewer features. For PHEVs and BEVs, the impact of the federal tax refund is also shown. Costs are given in 2014 U.S. dollars.

Some excerpts from the text:

The transportation sector accounts for 28% of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through vehicle fuel combustion, and 13% worldwide.(1, 2) Light-duty vehicles (LDVs), which are defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as passenger cars and light trucks with 12 seats or fewer and a gross vehicle weight rating below 8500 lbs (10 000 lbs for SUVs and passenger vans),(3) contribute about 61% of emissions from the U.S. transportation sector.(2) LDVs are therefore a crucial element of any comprehensive strategy to reduce U.S. and global GHG emissions, particularly under growing transportation demands.(1, 4-6)...

...Here, we address two missing elements in the literature by both reflecting the diversity of personal vehicle models available to consumers and assessing these options against climate change mitigation targets. When comparing personal vehicles against climate targets, it is important to understand the wide range of models available for purchase because consumer choices are defined by this available set.

In particular, we focus on the trade-offs between costs and emissions that consumers face in selecting a vehicle model. Although cost is not the sole influence on consumer purchasing decisions,(26-31) low-carbon vehicles will only achieve a dominant market share if they are affordable to a majority of the driving population. (Our proxy for affordability is the relative cost of low-carbon vehicles versus popular, conventional vehicles on the market.) Here, we address these issues by examining a comprehensive set of 125 vehicle models on sale today, covering all prominent powertrain technology options: internal-combustion-engine vehicles (ICEVs); hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs); plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs); and battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Our analysis also includes the 2016 Toyota Mirai, one of the first commercially available fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs).

We evaluate vehicle models on a cost-carbon plot(32) to answer the overarching questions: How do the costs and carbon intensities of vehicle models compare across the full diversity of today’s LDV market, and what is the potential for various LDV technologies to close the gap between the current fleet and future GHG emission targets? Specifically, we ask: Do consumers face a cost-carbon trade-off today? Which models, if any, meet 2030 GHG emissions reduction targets? Finally, in the longer term, which vehicle technologies would enable emissions targets for 2040 and 2050, designed around a 2 °C limit, to be met? What role can advancements in the carbon intensity of electricity generation, powertrain efficiencies, and production pathways for liquid fuels play? The insights and choices identified in this study may be of interest to car owners, cars manufacturers, and transportation policymakers alike.

The, um, "2 °C limit" is my opinion a joke. The effort which we are making to meet it, which consists of whoring about endlessly on the topic so called "renewable energy" while burning ever larger quantities of dangerous fossil fuels because, um, so called "renewable energy" hasn't worked, isn't working and won't work, has led to an acceleration in the rate of new accumulations of carbon dioxide in the planetary atmosphere and not a reduction in - or elimination of - that rate.

The authors use figure for carbon dioxide emissions resulting from electricity:

The carbon intensity of electricity is modeled as the average U.S. mix, including emissions from infrastructure construction (623 gCO2eq/kWh). We use a consistent lifetime of 169 400 miles (272 600 km) for all vehicle types, corresponding to the approximate averages for LDVs in the U.S.(41) Other GREET parameters are left at their defaults

(GREET is environmental life cycle analysis software that's become something of a standard these days.)

This figure, 623 gCO2eq/kWh is uncomfortably close to the figure for dangerous natural gas electricity, about 500 to 550 depending on who you ask, and it is very unlikely, given current policies which are all gas centric - including the expensive "investment" in the worthless and gas dependent solar and wind industries - to ever fall below that level in the lifetime of anyone now living, although this will not stop the assholes at say, Greenpeace, from offering stupid statements that begin with the words "by 2100..."

And here is what the authors say about the expected use of the cars they analyze:

The costs of ownership are calculated as the present value of the costs of purchasing the vehicle, paying for fuel and electricity, tire replacements, and regular maintenance, and are presented in 2014 U.S. dollars. As with the calculation of GHG emissions, we assume that each vehicle is driven a total distance of 169 400 miles at 12 100 miles (19 470 km) per year for 14 years of ownership.

169,400 miles is roughly 272,600 km if you're looking at the chart above.

So let's look at the chart: The Tesla piece of shit comes in at around 125 g of CO[sub]2[/sub] per km. This means that one will release, at 20,000 km per year, one would release about 2.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year or 35 metric tons in the cars putative lifetime. (How would you store 35 metric tons of carbon dioxide in your "distributed" waste dumps, by the way?)

A quick Google search suggests that there are between 250 and 260 million registered cars in the United States.

Thus if all of us were rich fools driving Tesla cars, at 2.5 tons per year, - we haven't been, we aren't and we won't be - we would be releasing each year about 625 million tons of carbon dioxide each year to drive.

This is less than we generate now to drive but it is hardly zero.

And let's be clear, since we will never again record a level of carbon dioxide below the current value of a shade over 400 ppm, what we can afford at this point is precisely that which we clearly have no intention of reaching, zero.

The cost of manufacturing this car crap - which will rise as the materials used to manufacture them deplete requiring the use of ever lower grades of ores - can be seen in another graphic in the paper:

The caption:
Figure 2. Sales-weighted averages by vehicle class, size, and technology of (a) GHG emissions and (b) costs for the data shown in Figure 1. The shaded bars represent the averages when the most affordable trim is analyzed, as in Figure 1. The error bars represent the averages when analyzing the trim with the worst fuel economy for each model (only ICEVs have trims with substantially different fuel economies for each model). The numbers in brackets represent the number of vehicle models considered for each group. SUV = sport utility vehicle; Trck = pickup truck; Sprt = sports car.

It says nothing of the cost of disposing of the existing 250 million cars as we mindlessly motor ourselves toward the consumerist goal of "all new stuff" in the mistaken that acquiring "all new stuff" passes for environmentalism. It hasn't; it doesn't; and it won't.

I suppose I'd be more fun if I told you what you want to hear, rather than the truth, but I haven't, I'm not, and I won't.

Have a nice evening.

11 replies, 1013 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply American Electric Cars Generally Meet the 2030 climate Goals, and Almost the 2040 Goals. (Original post)
NNadir Oct 2016 OP
whatthehey Oct 2016 #1
NNadir Oct 2016 #4
whatthehey Oct 2016 #5
NickB79 Oct 2016 #7
NNadir Oct 2016 #8
hunter Oct 2016 #10
Travis_0004 Oct 2016 #2
longship Oct 2016 #3
NNadir Oct 2016 #9
caraher Oct 2016 #6
NNadir Oct 2016 #11

Response to NNadir (Original post)

Tue Oct 18, 2016, 08:28 PM

1. Nice to know you want me confined to my home

With a walking range of 200 yards on perfectly smooth pavement I would be absolutely useless and a burden to the economy at best if I could not drive. Instead I pay about $30,000 a year in federal income taxes alone and give five figures to charity including environmental ones. Which would you prefer?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to whatthehey (Reply #1)

Tue Oct 18, 2016, 09:08 PM

4. I'm sure you're very noble. Almost everyone who bothers to read what I write is noble.

I'm not noble, except that I do my best to be honest.

I really don't care what you do.

I am merely reporting that the American lifestyle is unsustainable, and the people who will pay for this investment in unsustainable lifestyles are, well, every single human being in the future.

Which would you prefer, that no one questions your noble contributions to charity and that all future generations live in unimaginable poverty as a result, or that we face the uncomfortable fact that we are lying to ourselves?

I will submit that when this planet hits 500 ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere - pretty much a sure bet - all of your charitable contributions and tax payments will mean nothing to anyone.

What we are doing is demanding that all future generations pay for our short term comfort.

Nature: "Current models of climate economics assume that lives in the future are less important... than lives today, a value judgment that is rarely scrutinized and difficult to defend..."

This may come as something of a surprise, but billions of people once lived useful and interesting lives without cars, still do in fact.

That you, in particular, would be confined to your home, doesn't mean that everyone would be so confined.

By the way, I own a car, and I drive it. I hate it; but I drive it. You can now feel free to note that not only am I unpleasant, but I am also a hypocrite.

There was a time in my life - I lived in the Los Angeles area - that I undertook a one man revolution against the internal combustion engine - I bicycled everywhere - but I lost the revolution. I gave up after just a few years. I surrendered. History will not forgive people like me, car drivers, nor should it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to NNadir (Reply #4)

Tue Oct 18, 2016, 09:15 PM

5. The trouble is you ignore the 320 million individual people

In this society. Like most unrealistic idealists.

You are asking me to live in unimaginable poverty now just on the possibility that other people in the future might have to. Would you?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to whatthehey (Reply #5)

Wed Oct 19, 2016, 05:37 PM

7. "just on the possibility"

Probability at 95% and rising.......

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to whatthehey (Reply #5)

Wed Oct 19, 2016, 06:27 PM

8. Somehow, I don't think you speak for all 320 million individuals in this society.

You don't speak for me, for example.

This may come as a surprise to you, but not all 320 million people in this country drive or even own cars.

I have a very different view than you do as to what constitutes a "realist." I would say that someone who insists that cars are more essential to life than air and water is, um, somewhat unrealistic, given that the car was invented in the late 19th century and didn't actually become a central aspect of the American lifestyle until after the Second World War.

I spend much of my free time in the primary scientific literature; which is, in fact, how I came across this paper, on the day the issue of Environmental Science and Technology was finalized and placed on line.

I would suspect that most of the readers of this journal, or at least the overwhelming majority of them, don't need lectures on what must be thought of as sustainable, because a particular individual claims to speak for all Americans.

The car CULTure is not sustainable. The argument I am making involves, admittedly, on a belief that we should be elevating the value of future generations to at least be equivalent to our own.

This is, I know, "idealistic" but I'd rather be an idealist than someone sitting on his ass and saying everything must remain exactly as it is. There is a word for people who believe nothing should ever change, ever. They're called "conservatives."

I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a conservative.

Have a nice evening.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to whatthehey (Reply #1)

Thu Oct 20, 2016, 02:13 PM

10. Millions of Americans are denied the use of cars.

Some because they are blind, have seizure disorders, etc., some because they have proven themselves to be irresponsible drivers (drunk driving, reckless driving, etc.), some for other legal reasons (prison, serving time at home with an ankle bracelet...), but mostly because they simply can't afford an automobile.

What makes YOU so special?

An automobile society is a fascist society. It can keep people "in their place" simply by denying them the use of automobiles, by keeping the "poverty line" below what is needed to own and maintain a car, and by discouraging public transportation projects. It can keep track of everyone who owns a car, where they live, where they go, and these capabilities are growing ever more intrusive with modern information technology and things like license plate readers, "Fast Passes," and cell phone technology tightly woven into automobile electronics. (I find the remote shutdown capacity most amusing... miss a payment and your car is dead in it's parking spot and reporting its exact location to the repo man. Law enforcement can also locate and shut down modern automobiles remotely.)

Anyways, nobody is talking about taking away YOUR automobile. What we need to do as a society is to drastically reduce the overall number of automobiles. We can do this by making our cities attractive places where people can walk or use public transportation to get to work, or go shopping, or seek recreation. Maybe we can even tear down a freeway or two.

We won't do that, however, because here in the U.S.A. the Automobile is God, and for that our descendants will suffer greatly.

I hate cars, but like NNadir, I'm a hypocrite who owns one. In this society, unless you live in certain urban areas with excellent public transportation, an adult without a car isn't considered a fully functional human being. So yes, I fully understand your position.

My own car is a big "fuck you" to car culture. It's an $800 piece of shit. It was built in the mid eighties. I only wash the windows. I fill the gas tank a couple times every year, whether it needs gas or not. It's got fuel injection, four cylinders, and the emission controls still work well, so it's not any worse than other modern vehicles in terms of CO[sub]2[/sub] and other dangerous emissions. (And it's nothing like the monster V8 finned Cadillac my grandma drove when I was a kid. That got 10mpg and the only emission control system was a crankcase ventilation tube.)

By some planning and greater good fortune my wife and I have been able to avoid the car commuter lifestyle for several decades. When we met we were Los Angeles commuters on crowded, stop-and-go, 15 miles per hour freeways. I never want to do that again. Nobody should be compelled to do that.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to NNadir (Original post)

Tue Oct 18, 2016, 08:33 PM

2. I live in the country


Not sure how many buses are going to take me to where I need to go, and if so I'm guessing I'm going to be the only one on it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to NNadir (Original post)

Tue Oct 18, 2016, 09:04 PM

3. All from a guy who doesn't like cars!!!

Well, where I live there is no mass transit, so people have to fucking drive an automobile or the don't get to eat; they can't fix things at home, or even their cars. And the roads are not even paved here. It's 15 miles one way to the nearest grocery store.

Your ideas are really screwed up for us here.


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to longship (Reply #3)

Wed Oct 19, 2016, 11:56 PM

9. Yeah. I see by your profile you live in a National Forest.

I guess you live by the theory that everyone should move to a National Forest so, um, they'll need a car to drive around in it.

I have always considered that those awful ads in which asshole marketing people produce films of people driving SUV's through river beds and forests are obscene.

You know what pal? There are according to the World Health Organization 2.4 billion people, um, human beings, who lack access to any sort of improved sanitary facility.

But you need a car? Because you live in a National Forest?

Um...um...um...I really don't know what to say.

And you're telling me that my ideas are "really screwed up for us here," "us" being people who need to live in a National Forest and therefore need cars for driving around in them.


Thanks for denying me the rec. I certainly wouldn't want to be recommended in this kind of setting.

Have a nice day tomorrow. Try not to run over any bears or other wild animals.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to NNadir (Original post)

Tue Oct 18, 2016, 09:45 PM

6. Actually, this article is not paywalled

It's open access - anyone can download the full article!

ACS AuthorChoice - This is an open access article published under an ACS AuthorChoice License, which permits copying and redistribution of the article or any adaptations for non-commercial purposes.

I'm in a rural area and bike and walk around town as much as I can, but like many I still need to drive for many important reasons. But if we set our minds to making mass transportation useful and the first option rather than the last resort of those who cannot or will not drive, we could have a much greater reduction in our impact than finding "greener" ways to do something intrinsically damaging. I don't think that point should be lost amid any hurt feelings over the style of the messenger here!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to caraher (Reply #6)

Sat Oct 22, 2016, 12:01 PM

11. Thank you for pointing that out. I didn't notice; I generally assume that...

...most ACS articles are paywalled, since most often they are.

The authors generally have to pay to have their articles be open sourced.

The Unprinted Journal (Sedlack, Environ. Sci. Technol. 2016, 50, 10775−10776)

With constrained budgets in the sciences, that's I'm sure a difficult sell; although as Sedlack points out it can lead to more citations.

The paper to which I must often refer in my on line writing, since it's so important, is also open sourced, which I find convenient: Prevented Mortality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Historical and Projected Nuclear Power (Pushker A. Kharecha* and James E. Hansen, Environ. Sci. Technol., 2013, 47 (9), pp 4889–4895) It's now up to 97 citations, and has remained one of the most read papers (12 month running inventory) in the journal, but I'm not convinced that it's because it's open sourced, but has been successful because it's insightful, accurate, and because it flies in the face of so much public "conventional wisdom," which is not, in fact, "wisdom" any more than the idea that electric and fuel cell cars are sustainable.

Thanks again.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread