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Are Electric Cars Good for the Environment?

Are Electric Cars Good for the Environment?

This article is Part 5 of an 11-part series analysis of Tesla, Elon Musk and EV Revolution. You can read other parts here.

My wife loves driving the Model 3, not for all the selfish reasons I like to drive it (it is fast and quite the iPad on wheels) but because she feels she helps the environment. Is she right?

Unlike an ICE car, which takes fuel stored in the gas tank, combusts it in the engine, and thus creates kinetic energy, Tesla takes electricity stored in the battery pack and converts it directly into kinetic energy. That’s a very clean and quiet process. However, the electricity that magically appears in our electrical outlets is not a gift from Thor, the thunder god; it was generated somewhere and transmitted to us.

As I write this, I am slightly disturbed by how the topic I am about to discuss has been politicized. I am not going to debate global warming here, but let’s at least agree that an excess of carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) is bad for you and me, and for the environment. If you disagree with me, start an ICE car in your garage, roll down the windows, and sit there for about 20 minutes. Actually, please don’t, because you’ll die. So let’s agree that a billion cars emitting CO and CO2 is not good and that if we emit less CO and CO2 it is good for air quality.

Roughly two-thirds of the electricity generated in the U.S. is sourced from fossil fuels. The good news is that only half of that comes from coal; the other half comes from natural gas, which produces half as much CO2 as coal (though it has its own side effects – it leaks methane). Another 20% of U.S. energy comes from nuclear, which produces zero carbon emissions. The remaining 17% comes from “green” sources, such as hydro (7%), wind (6.6%), and solar (1.7%).

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Carmakers Face Supply Bottleneck Of This Crucial Metal

Carmakers Face Supply Bottleneck Of This Crucial Metal


For Tesla and its chief competitors in the race for global domination of electric vehicle sales, it ain’t all about lithium ion.

There are other valuable metals needed to make the battery packs do what’s asked of them, with nickel being essential. Tesla and its battery producer partners, and other automakers and their suppliers, are worried about the longer-term supply of nickel according to a new study by BloombergNEF.

The study predicts that EV makers will be driving demand for nickel about 16 times to 1.8 million tons in the next years. 

Class-one nickel, a high-purity material used in batteries, is expected to see demand greatly outstrip supply in the next few years. That will be fueled by meeting the large Chinese EV market, and other global markets where demand is expected to grow.

That need for class-one nickel will outstrip supply within five years, according to the study.

One problem has been a lack of real investment in new mines for materials including nickel, Tesla’s global supply manager of battery metals, Sarah Maryssael, said at a Washington meeting in May. That could drive up prices as battery demand increases greatly.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is concerned about having enough economically viable — and available — metal to continue meeting its growing electric car demand. That will take off even more as the company taps into China’s booming markets.

“They are getting ready to have the new factory in China, and are at full capacity in North America,’’ Peter Bradford, chief executive officer of nickel producer Independence Group NL, said. “They recognize the biggest risk from a strategic supply point of view is nickel.’’

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Electric Car-Owners Shocked: New Study Confirms EVs Considerably Worse For Climate Than Diesel Cars

Electric Car-Owners Shocked: New Study Confirms EVs Considerably Worse For Climate Than Diesel Cars

The Brussel Times reports that a new German study exposes how electric vehicles will hardly decrease CO2 emissions in Europe over the coming years, as the introduction of electric vehicles won’t lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions from highway traffic.

According to the study directed by Christoph Buchal of the University of Cologne, published by the Ifo Institute in Munich last week, electric vehicles have “significantly higher CO2 emissions than diesel cars.” That is due to the significant amount of energy used in the mining and processing of lithium, cobalt, and manganese, which are critical raw materials for the production of electric car batteries.

A battery pack for a Tesla Model 3 pollutes the climate with 11 to 15 tonnes of CO2. Each battery pack has a lifespan of approximately ten years and total mileage of 94,000, would mean 73 to 98 grams of CO2 per kilometer (116 to 156 grams of CO2 per mile), Buchal said. Add to this the CO2 emissions of the electricity from powerplants that power such vehicles, and the actual Tesla emissions could be between 156 to 180 grams of CO2 per kilometer (249 and 289 grams of CO2 per mile).

German researchers criticized the fact that EU legislation classifies electric cars as zero-emission cars; they call it a deception because electric cars, like the Model 3, with all the factors, included, produce more emissions than diesel vehicles by Mercedes.

They further wrote that the EU target of 59 grams of CO2 per kilometer by 2030 is “technically unrealistic.”

The reality is, in addition to the CO2 emissions generated in mining the raw materials for the production of electric vehicles, all EU countries generate significant CO2 emissions from charging the vehicles’ batteries using dirty power plants.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The $70 Million “Investment”

The $70 Million “Investment”

Electric cars continue to cost lots of money – contrary to the now-forgotten original point of the exercise, which was once upon a time to find a lower-cost alternative to gas-powered cars.

That’s gone away because gas is so cheap that – even with all the add-on taxes (about a fourth of the cost of each gallon) and the cost of regulatory mandates (such as the ethanol mandate) that have made fuel both more expensive and less efficient than it would otherwise be – finding a cheaper source of energy is going to take something spectacular, and battery power isn’t it.

That  inconvenient truth plus government subsidization of high-performance luxury-sport cars that happen to be battery-powered has perverted the incentives for electric car development away from economy and efficiency, neither of which are even discussed anymore – as if it doesn’t matter how much money is thrown on the EV bonfire, so long as the flames burn brighter and higher.

Which brings us to the $70 million “investment” Porsche is making in so-called “fast” chargers for the almost-here Taycan, the company’s first electric high-performance car.

The “fast” in quotes to make snarky about the abuse of language.

These chargers are indeed faster than charging up an EV via a household outlet – which takes half a day or overnight, depending on how flat-lined the battery is when you first plug it in.

But they are still paralytically slow vs. the time it takes to refuel say a 911 with gas.

These “fast” charger are also located at dealerships, which means having to go to the dealership – and then wait at the dealership – while your very quick but very long to get quick again Taycan gradually reboots itself.

Better hope there isn’t a line…

One of the many problems no one’s talking about with regard to this electric clusterfuck is recharge stall (or parking spot) throughput.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Next Pillar Of Oil Demand Growth

The Next Pillar Of Oil Demand Growth

Petchem plant

The debate about peak oil demand always tends to focus on how quickly electric vehicles will replace the internal-combustion engine, especially as EV sales are accelerating. However, the petrochemical sector will be much more difficult to dislodge, and with alternatives far behind, petrochemicals will account for an increasing share of crude oil demand growth in the years ahead.

Petrochemicals don’t receive much attention in the media, but its fingerprints are everywhere. They are used in plastics, fertilizers, packaging, clothing, dyes, cleaning products, cosmetics, medicines, tires – a seemingly limitless number of end-uses. They are so ingrained and embedded into modern life that they are almost unnoticeable.

Producing the zillions of consumer and industrial products coming from petrochemicals requires huge volumes of feedstocks. Needless to say, as the name suggests, the feedstocks are derived from petroleum – oil and gas. Moreover, demand for petrochemicals is soaring, as hundreds of millions of people in emerging markets move into the middle class.

A new report from the International Energy Agency positions the petrochemical industry as one of the driving forces behind oil demand growth for the next few decades. “The growing role of petrochemicals is one of the key ‘blind spots’ in the global energy debate,” the IEA wrote. “The diversity and complexity of this sector means that petrochemicals receive less attention than other sectors, despite their rising importance.”

The IEA says that the petrochemical sector could account for more than a third of oil demand growth to 2030, and nearly half to 2050, “ahead of trucks, aviation and shipping.” Passenger vehicles are currently a major source of oil demand, but they will “diminish in importance thanks to a combination of better fuel economy, rising public transit, alternative fuels, and electrification.”

But petrochemicals are much more interwoven into modern life, and the alternatives are far less developed.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Inconvenient Bill: Electric cars may lower your fuel bill, but make electricity, jobs, lifestyle, unaffordable

Inconvenient Bill: Electric cars may lower your fuel bill, but make electricity, jobs, lifestyle, unaffordable

The electric car push is on. Sadly, what people save on petrol bills looks like it’s going to be spent on electricity or tax.
Steve Goreham outlines the international push to get our cars and heaters electrified. But the dark alter-implication of electrification is renewables. (No point in driving a coal driven car.) It follows then, that electrification of everything that isn’t already electrificated, will mean more solar, more wind, and then more decimal places on your electricity bill. Welcome to the Bermuda triangle of cost savings in a subsized-mandated-unfree-market. The more you save, the less you have.
We all know wind power is “free”, but somehow costs seem to keep rising in places with more wind power. It’s so unfair:
Inconvenient Factoid:  Electricity prices in most top “wind” powered US states rose 2 – 7 times faster than in other states
Read and weep Australians. Pedal faster:
“…on average US electricity prices increased less than five percent during the eight years from 2008 to 2016″
Some US consumers are still paying rates in single digits.
For contrast, the Australian situation, is pathos and bathos simultaneously:
Australian households are paying 60 per cent more for their power than those in the US and double their Canadian counterparts after enjoying the third-lowest electricity prices of any OECD nation a decade ago.  — Simon Benson
See the graph. Please someone tell me why Texas prices have fallen. Is that shale oil I see? Wikipedia tells me “Texas produces the most wind electricity in the U.S., but also has the highest Carbon Dioxide Emissions of any state.” Ahhh. — Jo
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

King Dollar is Dead? Biggest Paradigm Shift in 100 Years: China and Electric Cars at Forefront 

Steen Jakobsen, Saxo Bank Chief Economist and CIO, says the biggest change in 100 years is underway. He points to events in China and with electrification of cars.

This is a guest post by Jakobsen.

Macro Digest: The 19th Party Conference – The biggest Paradigm shift in 100 years?

I think next week’s 19th China Communist Party’s Conference is the single biggest event this year – a confirmation a true paradigm shift

China leads world in credit creation, growth and now in most technology fields… My take remains that President Xi will focus on quality over quantity, that pollution reducing is the number one social issue and that The Party is taking more and more control. The net output will be:

  • Lower than expected growth next 18 month (while China converts economy from export engine to one of productivity gains – President Xi wants 2010 GDP per Capita doubled (Rule of 72= 72/7% GDP per year = 10 years) which means objective of 7% growth per year, but most of this will be productivity driven which means investment first (hence lower growth) then higher
  • Reduction of pollution = Electrification of cars – BDY says by 2030 100 pc of cars will be EV – this catapult China to leadership in battery, E-engines, and pollution reduction (Don’t forget that from 1900 to 1910/13 the US went from 100% horse carriages to 100% cars!)
  • High ratio of R&D and innovation to gain leadership China is already, but will be even more dominant in E-commerce, payments and Fintech. (See Mckinsey report below)
  • Slow gradual openness in capital account, more access to market for foreigners and BIG FOCUS on converting global trade from US$ to CNY [Yuan vs Dollar]
  • Weaker CNY post conference
  • Big negative credit & growth impact on rest of the world

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A Perspective on Electric Vehicles

A Perspective on Electric Vehicles

An electric auto will convert 5-10% of the energy in natural gas into motion. A normal vehicle will convert 20-30% of the energy in gasoline into motion. That’s 3 or 4 times more energy recovered with an internal combustion vehicle than an electric vehicle.

Electricity is a specialty product. It’s not appropriate for transportation. It looks cheap at this time, but that’s because it was designed for toasters, not transportation. Increase the amount of wiring and infrastructure by a factor of a thousand, and it’s not cheap.

Electricity does not scale up properly to the transportation level due to its miniscule nature. Sure, a whole lot can be used for something, but at extraordinary expense and materials.

Using electricity as an energy source requires two energy transformation steps, while using petroleum requires only one. With electricity, the original energy, usually chemical energy, must be transformed into electrical energy; and then the electrical energy is transformed into the kinetic energy of motion. With an internal combustion engine, the only transformation step is the conversion of chemical energy to kinetic energy in the combustion chamber.

The difference matters, because there is a lot of energy lost every time it is transformed or used. Electrical energy is harder to handle and loses more in handling.

The use of electrical energy requires it to move into and out of the space medium (aether) through induction. Induction through the aether medium should be referred to as another form of energy, but physicists sandwich it into the category of electrical energy. Going into and out of the aether through induction loses a lot of energy.

Another problem with electricity is that it loses energy to heat production due to resistance in the wires. A short transmission line will have 20% loss built in, and a long line will have 50% loss built in.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Musktopia Here We Come!

It ought to be sign of just how delusional the nation is these days that Elon Musk of Tesla and Space X is taken seriously. Musk continues to dangle his fantasy of travel to Mars before a country that can barely get its shit together on Planet Earth, and the Tesla car represents one of the main reasons for it — namely, that we’ll do anything to preserve, maintain, and defend our addiction to incessant and pointless motoring (and nothing to devise a saner living arrangement).

Even people with Ivy League educations believe that the electric car is a “solution” to our basic economic quandary, which is to keep all the accessories and furnishings of suburbia running at all costs in the face of problems with fossil fuels, especially climate change. First, understand how the Tesla car and electric motoring are bound up in our culture of virtue signaling, the main motivational feature of political correctness. Virtue signaling is a status acquisition racket. In this case, you get social brownie points for indicating that you’re on-board with “clean energy,” you’re “green,” “an environmentalist,” “Earth –friendly.” Ordinary schmoes can drive a Prius for their brownie points. But the Tesla driver gets all that and much more: the envy of the Prius drivers!

This is all horse shit, of course, because there’s nothing green or Earth-friendly about Tesla cars, or electric cars in general. Evidently, many Americans think these cars run on batteries. No they don’t. Not really. The battery is just a storage unit for electricity that comes from power plants that burn something, or from hydroelectric installations like Hoover Dam, with its problems of declining reservoir levels and aging re-bar concrete construction. A lot of what gets burned for electric power is coal. Connect the dots. Also consider the embedded energy that it takes to just manufacture the cars. That had to come from somewhere, too.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Environmentalism” and Rabies

“Environmentalism” and Rabies

When an animal catches rabies, in the end stages, it manifest bizarre, aggressive behavior. A normally shy raccoon will charge a human, growling and frothing at the mouth.rabid raccoon

There is only one treatment for a rabid raccoon.

How about humans afflicted with the disease called “environmentalism”?

It is a form of rabies – and much more dangerous.

California Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, for instance. This “environmentalist” (what’s the credential, exactly?) is pushing legislation that would require 15 percent of all new cars sold in California be “emissions free” by model year 2025.

This means electric cars, as only electric cars qualify as “emissions-free”… notwithstanding that they also most definitely produce emissions.

Just not at the tailpipe.burke

This also means catastrophe for the car industry – for car buyers. For buyers of cars that aren’t electric cars.

The price of which will skyrocket – in order to offset the losses imposed on car companies forced to manufacture and then give away vast fleets of electric cars in order to be allowed to sell any cars at all.

Electric cars only being “salable” when subsidized or “sold” at a loss.

In the past, there was a dodge.

A con, actually.carbon credit

It’s the one that helped make the rent-seeking Andrew Carnegie of our time, Elon Musk – purveyor of the Tesla electric car – a very wealthy man. He sells carbon creditsto other car companies. These credits serve as flim-flam-than-you-ma’am proxies for notbuilding electric cars. GM, for instance, avoids wasting money and time designing, manufacturing  and then attempting to sell (at a loss) an electric Edsel (like the ’90s-era EV1) by purchasing carbon credits from Elon for the tailpipe emissions not produced by the cars he makes. In order to offset the tailpipe emissions of the cars GM makes.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Can the world go all-electric?

Can the world go all-electric?

Recently, word leaked out that Norway may ban the sale of diesel- and gasoline-powered vehicles by 2025. The move toward electric vehicles is part of a dream shared by those concerned about climate change and about fossil fuel depletion (especially oil depletion), namely, to turn the world into one big all-electric paradise by running everything we can on electricity.

Theoretically, this is possible, but getting there won’t be easy. First, such a transition will take time. In the Norwegian example cited above, the transition to an all-electric private car fleet would take about 15 years based on Norwegian new private car registrations in 2015 and the current total number of registered private cars.

But the ban wouldn’t take effect until 2025. While Norwegian electric car registrations are rising, so are total car registrations. Even if we generously assume that the rise in electric car registrations between now and 2025 will shave five years off the transition, that still means Norway won’t achieve an all-electric private automobile fleet until 2035. And, Norway is already a leader in the move toward all-electric transportation. Other countries lag far behind.

The Norwegian example points out a second difficulty in the transition to an all-electric world. Norway gets 95.9 percent of its electricity from hydroelectric dams. It gets another 1.6 percent from wind turbines. Only 2.5 percent of its electricity comes from thermal power plants, the kind that burn fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas and that provide 66 percent of the world’s electricity.

Transitioning to electric transportation in places that primarily burn coal, natural gas and/or diesel fuel to produce electricity would undermine the goal of lowering greenhouse gas emissions. In thermal power plants, the ones that burn fossil fuels, two-thirds of the energy produced is lost in the form of heat. Only one-third is turned into electricity.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Gov’t Is Incapable of Managing Anything – The Electric Crisis in Europe

Electric Cars

Part of the global warming/climate change deals, many people do not realize that in Europe there will be no more gasoline and diesel cars on the streets come 2020. From Norway to India the year 2020 will mark the end of petrol or diesel vehicles. This is part of the long-term bear market in energy. Germany wants to bring at least million electric vehicles on the roads. However, this energy policy presents a crisis. They never realized that to prevent cars from using oil based energy, they have to get ready for a 25%-30%increase in power consumption. Shutting down nuclear power plants means you are transferring one pollution source for another.  Meanwhile, Germany was to shut down all nuclear power by 2022. Nobody seems to have figured out the coordination of these two trends.

Who Killed the Electric Car?

Who Killed the Electric Car?

The battery did it.  Batteries are far too expensive for the average consumer, $600-1700 per kwh (Service). And they aren’t likely to get better any time soon.

“The big advances in battery technology happen rarely. It’s been more than 200 years and we have maybe 5 different successful rechargeable batteries,” said George Blomgren, a former senior technology researcher at Eveready (Borenstein).

And yet hope springs eternal. A better battery is always just around the corner:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The stuff problem

‘Yes to renewables!’ Hundreds rallied outside the Victorian Parliament House, Melbourne, 10 December 2013. Takver under a Creative Commons Licence

How much mined material will we need to build a 100-per-cent renewable world? Danny Chivers works it out.

The problem with wind turbines, solar panels, ground-source heat pumps and electric cars is that they’re all made of stuff. When people like me make grand announcements (and interactive infographics) explaining how we don’t need to burn fossil fuels because fairly shared renewable energy could give everyone on the planet a good quality of life, this is the bit of the story that often gets missed out. We can’t just pull all this sustainable technology out of the air – it’s made from annoyingly solid materials that need to come from somewhere.

So how much material would we need to transition to a 100-per-cent renewable world? For my new NoNonsense book, Renewable Energy: cleaner, fairer ways to power the planet, I realized I needed to find an answer to this question. It’s irresponsible to advocate a renewably powered planet without being open and honest about what the real-world impacts of such a transition might be.

In this online article, I make a stab at coming up with an answer – but first I need to lay down a quick proviso. All the numbers in this piece are rough, ball-park figures, that simply aim to give us a sense of the scale of materials we’re talking about. Nothing in this piece is meant to be a vision of the ‘correct’ way to build a 100-per-cent renewably powered world. There is no single path to a clean-energy future; we need a democratic energy transition led by a mass global movement creating solutions to suit people’s specific communities and situations, not some kind of top-down model imposed from above. This article just presents one scenario, with the sole aim of helping us to understand the challenge.

– See more at: http://newint.org/blog/2015/08/15/material-requirements/#sthash.FQbbzNu7.dpuf


Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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