Electric Cars Are Here To Stay – Finally after 100 years

But will they do any good? I am not sure if I agree with this analysis but it is pretty detailed. Please go see the rest here:


Will buying an electric car make an environmental difference?

Sure, you might get a carpool sticker and a tax break. But if you buy an electric car, will it make much environmental difference?

Experts say that depends on three factors: What were you driving before? How is your electricity generated? And how many other electric cars are going to be sold?

In many cases, people who trade gasoline-powered cars for electric ones won’t be dramatically lessening the smog they emit. But when it comes to global warming, even when emissions from generating the electricity are taken into account, electric vehicles have a much smaller carbon footprint than gas-powered vehicles because they are much more efficient. However, it will take a decade or more until enough electric vehicles are on the road to make a significant impact.

“If you have a person who is driving a nice, newer car, having them switch to an electric car, there isn’t going to be much benefit in reducing smog,” said Tom Cahill, a professor emeritus of physics at UC Davis. “But there could be a whole lot of gain in climate change.”

Because all-electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf burn no fossil fuels, and plug-in hybrids like the Chevy Volt burn only small amounts of gasoline, tailpipe emissions from electric cars are basically zero. In smoggy cities like Los Angeles, driving one on summer days may actually clean the air because the tailpipe emissions contain less pollution than the air.

Yet most people currently buying electric cars weren’t driving old, smog-belching vehicles. They are often affluent motorists who drove newer-model gasoline cars. And because California has for 50 years had the toughest tailpipe standards in the nation, a 2010 gasoline-burning car puts out only 2 percent or less of the pollution spewed by a 1980s model.

Along with the national-security benefits of reducing America’s use of foreign oil, the main societal benefit of electric cars might be their dramatically smaller global warming footprint.

A 2008 study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions, which include emissions from both manufacturing and operating a vehicle, are 32 percent less from plug-in hybrids than from gasoline-powered cars.

That finding was based on America’s electricity mix: 45 percent of U.S. electricity is generated from coal, 23 percent from natural gas, 20 percent from nuclear, and 12 percent from dams, solar, wind and other sources.

The global warming footprint of electric cars varies by region. Some states get nearly all their electricity from coal, the most polluting fuel. But only 15 percent of California’s electricity comes from coal, nearly all imported from other states, with 46 percent from natural gas, 15 percent from nuclear power, and 24 percent from dams, solar, wind and other sources.


More tomorrow.


Leave a Reply