Are electric cars a cost effective eco-friendly solution?

Are electric cars a cost effective eco-friendly solution?

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Can we really say that electric cars are a cost-effective & eco-friendly solution? Or are we ignoring the elephant in the room?

Below, we consider some simple factors:

Power Required

    • A home charging system for a Tesla requires a 75 amp service.
    • The average house is equipped with a 100 amp service
    • In a neighbourhood of approximately 25 homes, the electrical infrastructure would be unable to carry more than 3 houses with a single Tesla, each. For even half the homes to have electric vehicles, the system would be wildly over-loaded.
    • This situation would involve a renovation of the entire delivery system.

Battery life

  • Test driving a Chevy Volt, for four days in a row, the fully charged battery lasted just 25 miles before the Volt switched to the reserve gasoline engine
  • Calculated the car got 30 mpg including the 25 miles it ran on the battery. So, the range including the 9-gallon gas tank and the 16 kWh battery is approximately 270 miles.
  • It will take you 4 1/2 hours to drive 270 miles at 60 mph. Then add 10 hours to charge the battery and you have a total trip time of 14.5 hours. In a typical road trip, your average speed (including charging time) would be 20 mph.
  • According to General Motors, the Volt battery holds 16 kWh of electricity. It takes a full 10 hours to charge a drained battery. The cost for the electricity to charge the Volt is never mentioned. Depending on where you live (it varies with the amount used and the seasons) calculated at $1.16 per kWh. 16 kWh x $1.16 per kWh = $18.56 to charge the battery. $18.56 per charge divided by 25 miles = $0.74 per mile to operate the Volt using the battery. Compare this to a similar size car with a gasoline engine that gets only 32 mpg. $3.19 per gallon divided by 32 mpg = $0.10 per mile.
  • The gasoline-powered car costs about $15,000 while the Volt costs $46,000. That means you pay 3 times as much for a car, that costs more than 7 times as much to run, and takes 3 times longer to drive across the country.
  • The reduction in noise pollution is obvious but the reduction in environmental pollution is an illusion.

The Environmental Issues Of Electricity Production

The variety of fuels used to generate electricity all have some impact on the environment. Fossil fuel power plants release toxic gases, require large amounts of cooling water, and can mar large tracts of land during the mining process. Nuclear power plants are generating and accumulating copious quantities of radioactive waste that currently lack any repository. Even renewable energy facilities can affect wildlife (fish and birds), involve hazardous waste, or require cooling water.

For further information regarding why the generation of electric power produces more pollution than any other single industry in the U.S.A., check out Electricity Generation and Pollution.

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