Panos Prevedouros, PHD
Panos Prevedouros, PHD

BY PANOS PREVEDOUROS PHD – The MIT Review titles the infographic below: Electric Vehicles are Here to Stay.

Yes, but the case for them is not particularly strong and their market penetration will be small for a very long time, for two big reasons.  One is EV’s marginal environmental benefit.
The infographic clearly shows that the big improvement comes when a gasoline-powered vehicle is converted to hybrid: Its emissions drop from 0.87 pounds of CO2 per mile to 0.57 pounds per mile.
All the fuss to get to EV cuts CO2 down only to 0.54 pounds per mile (and probably leaves a much bigger problem with battery recycling at the end.) In addition this estimate does not likely account for all the charging infrastructure that is being installed from scratch.

The second reason is the affordable price of fuel, gasoline in particular. It will be priced at around $4 per gallon for a long time thanks to major forces that work against major price increases, such as:

  1. Hydraulic fracturing of fracking for natural gas extraction, which curbs the demand for oil by vast amounts. (In 2000 fracking yielded 1% of the natural gas production in the US. In 2010 it yielded 20% of the production. A breakneck acceleration in such a capital intensive industry thanks to my fellow Greek and father of fracking George Phydias Mitchell.)
  2. Sustained oil prices in the $50 to $100 per barrel make expensive explorations affordable, so a healthy supply of oil will be available to satiate the increasing demands of the developing world.
  3. Substantially decreased demand for gasoline due to the popularity of high mpg vehicles (CAFE requirements and sales success of hybrids and plug-in hybrids; can’t buy a Hummer anymore.)
  4. Less travel due to persistent high unemployment and mega economic downers such as debt, deficit, bankrupt cities and countries, and looming pension and health care social costs in the US.
  5. Continued public and private investment in renewable sources of energy.

Comments

comments

7 COMMENTS

  1. electric cars pollute more than gas powered cars because of the power plants that generate electricity that electric cars use to charge up.and we have to factor in such things as vehical construction,fuel extraction,lifetime use of those cars,recycleying,construction of batteries(and all the raw materials including the need for rare earth metals,etc.) and disposal of batteries.etc,etc.

  2. If you take consideration of photo voltaic panels generating electricity to households, electric vehicles have far less impact on environment than any other vehicle technology. Many electric vehicle owners also have PV generating systems. The other issue of disposal of batteries applies not only to electric vehicles but also to hybrid and gas powered vehicles. All vehicles have battery disposal issues: gas, hybrid and electric.

  3. @evowner- even if it was possible to charge your car with "renewable sources" in your case solar energy for example, it would have to be done large scale,if that is even possible to do yet.it would require huge amounts of photo voltaic cells to be manufactured.and these solar cells contain heavy metals,and their manufacturing releases "green house gases" such as sulfur hexafluoride which has 23000 times asmuch "global warming potential" as CO2.(according to Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change).and there is still the need for fossil fuels,as energy,to extract the raw materials needed to build the solar panels,and for the fabrication,assembly and maintenance.and fossil fuel is used to fabricate and assemble the EV.can't do it with wind tubines yet.many car parts are energy intensive to manufacture, like aluminum and carbon composites.and batteries are at least 1/3 the weight of the car today.

  4. @evowner- if you are suggesting that people who have EV"s also have PV panels generating electricity to their household thereby off-setting and allowing the power plants to use the energy surplus towards charging the EV"s is a very good point.and the solar energy and electric cars will improve with time.maybe Moore's Law can be applied.that would be kool and awesome.

  5. MIT made a big mistake not checking their facts with our professor before publishing their findings.

Comments are closed.