MLucas
Posts: 833
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:52 am
Location: Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada

Are Journalists Trying to Kill the Electric Car?

Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:27 am


Like Dylan...I went electric.

  • Purchased: June 29th, 2012
  • Mileage on June 29th, 2013 - 25,431 km / 15,802 miles
  • Mileage on June 29th, 2014 - 51,286 km / 32,616 miles

List of Oil Spills: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oil_spills

iDriver
Posts: 105
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:01 pm

Re: Are Journalists Trying to Kill the Electric Car?

Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:49 am

Ok.. my $0.02

I see ICE vehicles every single day on the side of the road, broken down, out of gas, etc... but why would they report that? It's not interesting, it's something we all know happens.

I don't think any amount of bad press will be able to kill the Electric Car. Also, I don't think they are trying to Kill it, press is there for one reason, to sell add time. You need eyeballs on your material, they're just trying to get attention, anyway they can. They aren't trying to kill the Electric car, anymore than they are "pro murder". You know the old saying "If it bleeds, it leads!". It's just the press, being press.

Sidenote: You want some good press? Here in California, it's all over town, on these light up signs that say "Regular $4.25, Premium $4.60". ;)

Vike
Posts: 402
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:25 pm
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Re: Are Journalists Trying to Kill the Electric Car?

Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:35 pm

I'll see your $.02 and raise you a few bucks :lol:

It's certainly true that some journalists are tring to kill EVs. The idiot children at Top Gear are the most egregrious example, having repeatedly faked EV problems for "fun", but that's because they're addicted to the rumble of controlled explosions and the stink of petrochemicals - as noted, idiots, and in fairness they do seem to know it.

But beyond that kind of nonsense, there does seem to be a pattern of corporate media types trashing perfectly capable EVs. When even the New York Times gets in the game, you do have to wonder if there isn't some broader problem (btw, if you missed the whole Broder-Tesla dustup, go check that out; also read my reply as vike1108 to this PlugInCars column, where I take issue with the writer's claim that the NYT stood by Broder's Tesla review - they didn't).

I think a meme is settling in that EVs are a dead end, driven by PHEV/BEV sales falling short of rosy projections, ignorant and/or insufficiently prepared reviewers, and perhaps a bit of the Red vs. Blue disease that has corrupted nearly every policy discussion these days (a personal automotive solution that sticks it to OPEC by exploiting domestic energy resources while keeping us off bicycles and buses having somehow become a "Blue Camp" idea). That last point was probably a contributing factor in the spectacular stranding of a Nissan Leaf documented in the Wall Street Journal, a newspaper of the "Red Camp" [sigh].

Now sure, given the current state of the art, EVs aren't for everyone, or even most people (Ed Begley Jr.'s enthusiastic boosterism notwithstanding). For their part, manufacturers (with the possible exception of Mitsubishi, who's had other problems) missed the market sweet spot by over-equipping and over-pricing their offerings. Turns out the intersection of treehuggers, techie geeks, and customers for $40k small cars wasn't as large as they'd hoped - whoops. And government incentives have been badly misdirected, withholding assistance from less affluent buyers who might have been able to easily afford an i-MiEV ES if they'd been given a $7500 rebate on the spot instead of a tax credit they're not "qualified" to use (a great euphemism for "you don't make enough money for us to help you").

While all that's added up to less than stellar success, it's not proof that EVs won't work. I think some ideas that are casually tossed around are rooted in ignorance, e.g., thinking that EVs won't be practical until we have a $20k EV with 200 mile range and room for a family of five that can be recharged in under 10 minutes from chargers installed at every intersection. While EVs are practical right now for many potential customers, we need to be clear-eyed about the special characteristics of EVs and stop judging them by ICE standards. Stop fretting about "infrastructure" when we already have access to the best energy infrastructure in the country - the electrical grid; exploiting that only requires that we change our way of thinking about refueling. Stop whining about the challenges of cross-country driving with EVs - unless you're moseying along seeing the sights at less than 100 miles a day (even less if you can't chart a course with appropriate Level 2 charging opportunities), the EV is not the right choice for leaving town, all the high-pitched whining from EV extremophiles to the contrary (affluent Tesla owners excepted). Stop expanding the universe of potential EV customers by including everyone who has a round-trip commute within the EPA listed range - we all know that range is subject to many variables, but we're also a bit dodgy about the fact that it's also only valid for a new car, and will only diminish over time.

Instead, there's a lot that could be done with what we actually have at hand. The virtuous circle of less weight->smaller battery->less weight driving to lower cost (we hope) means that the i-MiEV got it right, and so might the SparkEV, MiniE, Fiat 500e, SmartED, or Scion iQEV (and people make fun of i-MiEV?) if given some real engineering and marketing support. If Honda were really serious about EVs, I think a great starting point would be an update of the Gen-1 Insight, with the low mass and aerodynamics needed to be more versatile than the current generation of urban runabouts (and to Leaf and Focus-E fans that insist they don't fit that description because an extra 15 miles of range is a game changer, GET OVER YOURSELVES).

EVs aren't perfect, but they are clearly better vehicles at a better value than they have ever been before. I think government incentives, especially if they're restructured to help all buyers instead of just the more affluent, do make sense if they help us get to economies of scale that render those incentives unnecessary. Hopefully, once we're there, EVs will be beyond the reach of the naysayers and can carve out a sustainable market niche for buyers whose needs match up with the technology.
2012 Silver ES w/QuickCharge+DRL/foglights, Eaton Level 2 EVSE, since 9/9/2012

joev
Posts: 53
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:07 am
Location: Long Island, NY

Re: Are Journalists Trying to Kill the Electric Car?

Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:16 am


MLucas
Posts: 833
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:52 am
Location: Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada

Re: Are Journalists Trying to Kill the Electric Car?

Tue Mar 12, 2013 7:34 am



This is the one worst one yet I have read. Sheesh. I'm not sure where this individual gets the manufacturing carbon cost difference of 30,000 pounds for an EV and only 14,000 pounds for an ICE. That is the bases of his entire argument, without it he doesn't have leg to stand on.

All of these articles do serve one purpose - SPIN. These are the same exact arguments regurgitated word for word by the common person on the street when asked about EVs. They help to form opinions for those that choose not to think for themselves and get their own information and the true facts. Don't get me started....

Like Dylan...I went electric.

  • Purchased: June 29th, 2012
  • Mileage on June 29th, 2013 - 25,431 km / 15,802 miles
  • Mileage on June 29th, 2014 - 51,286 km / 32,616 miles

List of Oil Spills: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oil_spills

sandange
Posts: 907
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:21 am
Location: Quebec, Canada
Contact: Website

Re: Are Journalists Trying to Kill the Electric Car?

Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:02 am

Tesla Model 3 SR+, 2019
Previous EVs
Puey Bluey 2014 Miev
200,000 km , 124.000 miles.
Blackie - 2012 ES Miev 2 years - 67,000 km / (41,630 miles)
http://thecordstead.blogspot.ca/

danpatgal
Posts: 202
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:21 am
Location: Ephrata, PA

Re: Are Journalists Trying to Kill the Electric Car?

Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:40 am

MLucas wrote: This is the one worst one yet I have read. Sheesh. I'm not sure where this individual gets the manufacturing carbon cost difference of 30,000 pounds for an EV and only 14,000 pounds for an ICE. That is the bases of his entire argument, without it he doesn't have leg to stand on.
I actually went through some of the total analysis described in Lomborg's article. Questions like, "what is the best way to minimize my carbon impact? What is the imbedded cost in buying a new BEV? What is the recycling cost for lithium batteries? What is the impact of charging vs. using gasoline? Would I save money? What is the right social decision?" I don't personally like the negative spin on it, but it's normal ... as iDriver said: they have one motive, to make money by increasing readers. We are now, if not officially, rather practically, in the golden age of yellow journalism.

I personally could have gone lower in my carbon impact by not getting any car or bicycling more, but in the end I felt buying a car like the iMiev was a way to "vote with my dollars", support a socially positive movement for transportation, and show others around me that driving without gasoline was not only possible, but fun and interesting. I didn't exactly think the masses would feel my sense of duty to reduce fossil fuel usage, but a few did. For the rest it will take time to change their ideas, face denial, see through the biased press, and evaluate their daily activities. Most people are absolutely immune to thinking about something as mundane as their transportation impact.

I would like to know how a typical EV has a carbon impact of 30k lbs while a typical ICE is only 14K. Reading other articles on the subject are nowhere near that number (though EVs are higher).

Vike
Posts: 402
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:25 pm
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Re: Are Journalists Trying to Kill the Electric Car?

Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:49 am



Ok, just in case everybody's forgotten, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology looked into all this a couple of years ago while analyzing transportation policy options:

http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/0 ... n-impacts/

So at the very least, Lomborg's being selective in his sources, having jumped on a new report that's skewed his way, while there are clearly credible sources that don't suppport his argument at all. For instance, regarding his vague offhanded comment that lithium mining is "less than green", the reality according to the Swiss labs is:

In addition, the processes used to extract lithium from brines are very simple and have a low energy demand. Although lithium occurs in average concentrations lower than 0.01% in the Earth’s crust and hence can be considered to be a geochemically scarce metal, assessment with ADP does not result in a high impact for the lithium components.

Translated - while lithium is not exactly common, it's actually pretty concentrated in the brines from which it's commercially extracted, a process with a modest carbon footprint. Indeed, overall:

The Li-ion battery plays a minor role regarding the environmental burdens of E-mobility irrespective of the impact assessment method used.


Of course, Lomborg leaps to conclusions that the Norwegian study itself does not. Specifically, Lomborg asserts:

The electric car might be great in a couple of decades but as a way to tackle global warming now it does virtually nothing.


. . . while the Norwegian scientists actually say:

The production phase of EVs proved substantially more environmentally intensive. Nonetheless, substantial overall improvements in regard to GWP [global warming potential], TAP [terrestrial acidification potential], and other impacts may be achieved by EVs powered with appropriate energy sources relative to comparable ICEVs [internal combustion engine vehicles]. However, it is counterproductive to promote EVs in regions where electricity is produced from oil, coal, and lignite combustion.


In other words, even in the less favorable Norwegian study, EVs provide substantial overall environmental benefits when compared with ICEVs unless those EVs are powered by oil or coal. As coal is rapidly being displaced by cleaner natural gas in many parts of the U.S., and renewables (wind, solar, etc.) make ever-increasing contributions to the grid, EVs will improve right along with the grid just as they are. ICEVs can never make such improvements.

Why the Swiss and Norwegians came up with such radically different conclusions regarding the environmental impact of EV manufacturing is certainly worth a discussion - but apparently not in Lomborg's mind, since he's now found something to satisfy his confirmation bias.
2012 Silver ES w/QuickCharge+DRL/foglights, Eaton Level 2 EVSE, since 9/9/2012

MLucas
Posts: 833
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:52 am
Location: Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada

Re: Are Journalists Trying to Kill the Electric Car?

Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:34 am

Very nice analyses, Vike.

My EV basically runs on water. :D

Can't get much cleaner than that. Most of the power I use in my car comes from the Sir Adam Beck power plant that uses the water from the mighty Niagara river to power electrical generation turbines. In 2014, the province of Ontario is going to be coal free and soon I'll have my Solar Panels on my roof with a Feed-In Tariff. I know many of the members here have clean sources of energy. But, even in a coal-generated grid, the EV is still the best bet - as the science shows the cleaner the grid gets, the better the car gets.

Like Dylan...I went electric.

  • Purchased: June 29th, 2012
  • Mileage on June 29th, 2013 - 25,431 km / 15,802 miles
  • Mileage on June 29th, 2014 - 51,286 km / 32,616 miles

List of Oil Spills: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oil_spills

RobertC
Posts: 292
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2012 7:35 am
Location: Winter Garden, FL

Re: Are Journalists Trying to Kill the Electric Car?

Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:43 pm

Dr. Bjorn Lomborg, with a degree in political science, is not a scientist and has been found by scientists to fabricate data and deliberately mislead. The Norwegian study he cites is flawed and makes many unsupported assumptions with its data. For instance, the EV motor, inverter and "battery passive cooling system" an electric vehicle in their study contains 238 pounds of copper and over 400 pounds of aluminum. Also, I could not find where the Norwegian University of Science and Technology researchers got their high numbers for global warming CO2 from the production of the lithium battery. My research on the subject shows much less. The study also fails to take into consideration the global warming CO2 it takes to explore for oil, drill, pump, transport crude oil, refine, and deliver gasoline to the pump. Based on these fundamental flaws, I would disregard the Norwegian study and any conclusions that it reaches.
”Red” - 2018 Red Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive Tesla Model 3 - 11/27/18
“Blue” - 2018 Kinetic Blue Chevy Bolt Premier with QC - 5/13/18
"Purple" - 2012 Raspberry Metallic ES with QC - 4/10/2013

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