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The electric vehicle is ready. Are you?

Jonn Axsen studied consumer adoption of electric cars for the last ten years. Technology isn't the problem - consumers aren't familiar with them yet and we need carbon policies to speed their adoption 

Two of the largest contributions to deep greenhouse gas emissions are likely to be electric mobility and decarbonising electricity sources. Jonn Axsen, Assistant Professor of Resource and Environmental Management at SFU, speaking at the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, told the audience of his public lecture last night that the obstacle to electric mobility isn’t technology. It is people’s understanding of the technology and their motivations as consumers.

Decarbonizing electricity generation and adopting electric mobility will  play a big role in making the deep cuts we need in greenhouse gas emissions.

Not a problem: batteries

Engineers from the US Department and Energy and MIT set high standards for whether batteries had sufficient storage (more miles) and power (acceleration/speed) for electric vehicles. Axsen looked at the two most common battery types, Nickel Metal Hydride and Lithium Ion and only the latter came close to meeting those standards.

The high bar set by the engineers contributed to the meme that batteries aren’t advanced enough yet for electric cars, but in fact they are more than capable for powering the kind of electric car people most want. Axsen interviewed people to find out what kind of battery would be sufficient for the types of cars they were most interested in. People were most interested in the plug in hybrids, like the Prius, which require smaller batteries well within the capacity of the Nickel Metal Hydride technology.  

MIT and US DOE set a high bar for measuring whether battery technology is ready for electric cars. The blue and purple ballons represent what people actually want - plug in hybrids - and the current battery technology is more than good enough. 

Another claim is that the negative environmental impacts of batteries outweigh the environmental benefits of electric cars. But Axsen’s research found that battery manufacture accounts for 7-15% of the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of a car, including battery disposal. The operation stage (actually driving it) has a much bigger impact over time, over 30%. So decreasing emissions during operations (as electric and hybrid cars do) far outweighs the negative impacts of batteries.

The source of electricity

The source of electricity that powers a car is a more realistic concern. According to Axsen’s graph, a pure EV using electricity from the dirtiest source (coal) performed about the same as a regular car. A hybrid performed slightly better. With cleaner electricity sources, EV’s increasingly outperformed hybrids and far outperformed regular cars. For example, using California’s average carbon intensity for electricity generation, a plug in hybrid with a 20 km electric range created 46% less carbon emissions.  In B.C., with its hydropower, electric vehicles emit a fraction of the GHGs of gas vehicles. In Alberta, which depends largely on coal generated electricity, the advantage is small.

  

Just about any electric car will have lower emissions than a regular car, even if powered by coal generated electricity. But electric cars provide a huge opportunity for places like B.C. that have hydro power. 

Axsen cautioned against measuring benefits of electric cars by today’s standards. The second important change for deep GHG cuts is decarbonising electricity. As coal plants shut down and renewable sources take over, EVs will become ever stronger in their competition against not only gas cars but also hybrids.

Most people park their car close enough to a plug to charge with

Most people want to charge their cars at home, so the idea that we need a lot of public fast charging outlets before we can make the transition is just wrong. People just need a parking place near a regular plug and already over half of drivers park their cars within 25 feet of a regular outlet.  So there’s plenty of capacity to recharge the plug in hybrid type car that consumers most want. Some electric cars require a dryer plug, and about a third of the population has one available close to where they park their car. There’s no need to wait for public infrastructure to begin the transition.  

How will recharging affect the electrical grid?

Recharging is most likely to affect the grid when people are at home, peaking at around 5 or 6 pm. Axsen thought with major adoption of EVs, this peak is worth keeping track off and could be managed by utilities using rates or regulations to spread out the charging times. We own a plug in Prius that we program to begin charging at 4 in the morning because the battery lasts longest if it doesn’t sit fully charged. Such easy programming ability could prevent peak overloads.

“Range Anxiety”

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Comments

electric car reporting

The Tesla Model S and their future products will come as a big surprise to those who are not following this closely.

The electric car has arrived, and year by year, the internal combustion engine will become less desirable.

Plain and simple.

Tesla flying monkeys

It is interesting that every single online article about electric vehicles is guaranteed to have some kind of boilerplate glowing Tesla comment. Which, on its face, is strange since the price of the vehicles puts it well out of the price range of anyone who would actually have time to read and comment on these articles. Elon Musk is not so much at the forefront of transportation technology as he is at the leading edge of the black art of 'social media' aka online propaganda. Elon's army of flying monkeys would make Edward Bernaise and Adolph Hitler proud. Shep

ICEs are so last century's tech

I used to aspire to owning a Ferrari or Bently some day.

Now they seem archaic.

Now I aspire to own a Tesla some day.

GSP

As owner of an electric, I

As owner of an electric, I have to say the they are honestly a niche car. They are currently for shorter trips (150km or less) and for those who don't want massive high end power.

With that said, they are for the normal person who drives within the city limits (rent a car if you need to go cross country!) and doesn't want to pay through the nose for more HP than you really need. Nobody NEEDS the high end power or range that you think you need, except for those special days.

I don't mean to preach, but honesty an electric is like any other specialty car: if the peg fits the slot, why try jamming something else in?

 

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Electric car is the latest and advanced invention in the world of automobile sector. It is very friendly to our environment and us. It is a good replacement of fuel car. The technology behind it is really good.

It has a valuable impact in our economic condition and enhances our financial situation. But due to some other point of view it is consider as dead in market.

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As the pollution rate is

As the pollution rate is increasing day by day due to use of excess amount of vehicles. So, we have to control this pollution to stay safely in future. Actually, to control the pollution caused by vehicles we can go for electric cars. Actually electric car concept was discovered by the branded car makers to minimize the level of pollution in the environment. Actually sometimes because of vehicle problem more carbon dioxide gas releases from the vehicle so, for these cases we have to repair our car from good Porsche Mechanic Chicago center whenever required to get better performance from it. .

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Batteries are the most

Batteries are the most important part of the car. It is required to start up the car. The very first step is to ignite and there itself the batteries are required. However the electric car makers haven’t focused much on this aspect of car manufacturing and have caused in dis-satisfaction of customers. The car makers are now focusing on this aspect as well. The demand of batteries varies in accordance with the kind of car. Like for low range car the customer would be happy even with a battery which will supply enough torque to start the ignition system. While in high end cars the customer needs batteries which can resist for a longer period.

 

 

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