Electric vehicles

I have been waiting for this:

I should really have started "Barry's Other Blog" to write about these things. One of my pet peeves is "knowledge filtering", which means we get incomplete, misleading or wrong information.

Electric vehicles are an example. What is the real cost of these vehicles? This needs to cost based on the total energy required for the vehicle over it's operating life.

What is the environmental impact of manufacturing (and disposal) of these battery packs?

Posted on 28 Sep 2012, 20:03


Posted on 28 Sep 2012, 20:38 by ozsouth
Royalauto (RACV) this month has an article on the Holden Volt, which has a 65 km range, which is extended to 600 km via a 1.4 ltr petrol motor recharging the batteries. Overall it uses 3.9 ltr / 100km - about the same as a VW turbo diesel which is around half the price - and THEN there's the total cost of the batteries. Suppose they've got to start somewhere . . .

Posted on 28 Sep 2012, 21:03 by mugggins
Illich on cars

Posted on 28 Sep 2012, 22:47 by PC-Rider
Pollution of these cars are low in terms of CO2 emissions from the vehicle istself. What about the power plants that produce the power to recharge? They exhaust tons of it in a remote area somewhere els! It's just a case of dilusion, overall the emissions stay the same I may Hope!

Posted on 29 Sep 2012, 2:51 by FrogLeader
Tesla is progressing nicely. I don't know how the program will work out but they are innovating the technology faster than other EV car makers. Here is a link to their recycling plan:


Posted on 29 Sep 2012, 3:08 by Ted Dog
battery recycle fees-tax
Had to replace my RV/Caravan battery last week and I was ticked that my State of Texas charges its own (core) charge for hazardous waste disposal on new batteries. All parts of the battery is recoverable and remade into new batteries including the plastic cover. The US industry has very high percentage upper 90% of battery components made from old batteries. So this charge is completely unneeded. Just a money grab for a problem that does not exist.

Posted on 29 Sep 2012, 7:48 by Stephino13
Battery Re-Use
Though i do not disagree with your point, there are some other cool ideas being generated as to what to do with these batteries. One idea that has several prototypes out there is using the old batteries to store power in the grid. The batteries in the cars still have much life (~70%) when they are exhausted for vehicle use. Personally, I think it would be cool to mate with a solar panel for a remote cabin, but given the different voltage levels losses with off the shelf components would probably be prohibitive. Anyway I agree we only get partial pictures with the "green" initiatives.

Posted on 29 Sep 2012, 11:02 by technosaurus
stirling engine hybrids
Stirling engines are more efficient than gas, diesel and even turbines used by the power companies. I think it was AMC (now defunct) that produced a stirling powered car in the 70s, but it took a few minutes to heat up enough to actually go... needless to say it didn't gain a market.... but now we can run on battery till it is warmed up and it could run on any fuel (including burning garbage if you got desperate) Then you'd only need ~10 mile battery life and if arranged properly the stirling engine could use the sun as a heat source to trickle charge the battery throughout the day. Nifty fact: stirling engines can be used in reverse to cool to near absolute 0 ... just in case you want to add a flux capacitor ... oh wait, that was DMC
Out of fuel? just pull over and throw some burnable litter or brush in.

Posted on 29 Sep 2012, 14:39 by Doorknob
The whole picture

You need to know the total pollution produced over the life of ALL options, not just electric vehicles.

One step people usually forget is that producing fuel for cars at an oil refinery requires HUGE amounts of electricity.

A large oil refinery can consume the same amount of power as a small city.

Posted on 29 Sep 2012, 18:19 by Iguleder1
Barry, as we all know, there are many reasons why you prefer the static /dev of Woof's skeleton.

However, it seems recent version of udev rely on devtmpfs (yes, the kernel must be built with this support!), so udev doesn't have to create device nodes on its own.

Since support for devtmpfs must be added to Woof, I think you should wipe that ugly /dev. Instead, a devtmpfs file system could be mounted on the initramfs /dev, then mount --move'd to the union file system's one. It works great here.

The only problem is old kernels and udev versions - perhaps, 3builddistro could erase /dev's contents if they are recent enough, while the init script will decide whether a devtmpfs is needed.

Posted on 30 Sep 2012, 2:16 by bigpup
Road use Tax
Here in the United States, the biggest issue with electric powered vehicles. How do they pay for upkeep of the road system? Taxes are charged with each gallon of gas you buy. People who own electric vehicles do not buy gas.
At present, electric vehicles use the road system, but do not pay anything to support maintenance and upkeep.
This is becoming the unanswered question and debate in our state governments. How do we tax electric vehicles to fund road maintenance?

Posted on 30 Sep 2012, 4:44 by Dougal
Real Cost
Barry, electric cars are currently more polluting than hybrids, due to depending on fossil-fuel based power supplies, but that can obviously change with improving the technology -- plus battery charging is something solar energy fits well.

Note also that for the "real cost" of petrol-based cars you need to include the pollution (direct and indirect)+expenses+environmental damage of the gulf war, the invasion of Iraq etc. and the knowledge that you are supporting some of the world's most odious regimes, where the rights of women, homosexuals etc. are pretty nonexistent.

Posted on 30 Sep 2012, 5:29 by technosaurus
death and taxes
Electric vehicles don't pay for road use directly, but they compensate by using _locally_ produced energy (currently and for the next 50+ years cheap, less polluting natural gas) The majority of politicians are too stupid to grasp the big picture of things like net {gdp, carbon footprint, local economic impact,...}, but its really not their fault. The average person can only comprehend 3-7 interconnected things, whereas this is a multifaceted problem/solution. These are the same guys that thought ethanol subsidies were a better idea than biodiesel - why? because most of their constituents drive gas powered cars, not diesel semis except that the same constituents would get more economic advantage from having the products that they buy shipped on biodiesel which is ~20 times more effective than ethanol production and would have less impact on the world food supply and would prevent the rampant cost of living increase caused by redirecting food to fuel ... fortunately for politicians (well U.S. republicans at least) that's just too complicated for the voters to understand because it only affects them indirectly. ...besides little ass electric cars do very little damage to the road and are a drop in the bucket and for now it is a good incentive to explore technology that could benefit the future without having to provide direct subsidies. These are the same guys that complain about the cost of government,but when the opposing party restructures health care to save $$, they whine about the (government) jobs that it eliminates. I would totally run for office to fix that kind of idiocy, but I just can't stand to work with totally dumb-asses.
Note on republican comment: I am a conservative in principle, but refuse to identify with a party that as a whole does not value intellect, science, truth, technology, efficiency, respect or human dignity.

Posted on 30 Sep 2012, 14:22 by maxerro
hope for...
Before this flames into a political debate, just cross your fingers potassium-ion battery gets the perfect anode within the next 2 years. Then, it'll just be a battle for new energy generators that are already in the patenting process.

Posted on 31 Sep 2012, 7:38 by Ted Dog
NiFe potassium battery
Edison made an Electric Car using non-toxic parts in the 1900's. Iron, Nickle & purified wood ash. for the battery. Does not form secondary compounds that foul the battery during use, Like Lead Sulfate. 20-50year life, can be undercharged/overcharged left to discharge for months to years and still recharges.

Problem One no one can 'Own' the royalty rights since that has long since expired.

I also find it strange on a pure electric power, the distance traveled per charge has not really improved in over 100 years.

Posted on 1 Oct 2012, 12:15 by aarf
hydrogen now in perth
http://www.hydrogenfuelsystems.com.au target=_blank>

Posted on 3 Oct 2012, 4:32 by wognath
Use less
Barry raises a vital issue: we want to believe technology will sooner or later solve our problems.

I used to use this in my lecture about fuel cells
Applies to electrics too, of course.

In my opinion, the only solution is "use less".

Posted on 3 Oct 2012, 17:14 by aarf
the waves in the southern ocean when i post this are at least 50% green or more ie greater than 6 meters. yes we have technology to harvest waves that can then produce hydrogen. but if you want to be an ostrich thats up to you. i prefer clean air.