Are electric cars actually more envionmentally friendly?

62 posts in this topic

Here we go...  A new thread just for the folks that think E-Cars are the Bees Knees..

 

Personally, I think they are not so enviromentally friendly due the the disposal issues and problems that Road traffic accidents and old age produce...

 

Discuss

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They are more environmentally friendly over their lifecycle. More carbon emissions during production stage than traditional ICE vehicles, but after a few years on the road their carbon footprint is much lower (to what extent depends on the country's electricity mix of course).

 

Another advantage of EVs is that they can load on electricity during off-peak hours or when wind and sun are good, thus making it easier for the electricity grid to deal with fluctuations from renewable energies. 

 

But the biggest advantage of EVs is that they don't poison your lungs as ICE do. Poor air quality resulting from roads clogged with ICE vehicles is one of the leading causes of death and sickness in modern Europe. Even if EV's were as polluting as ICE vehicles (which they are not) at least it's far away from population centers.

 

Their braking system is also better than the one from ICE vehicles and generates less toxic fine particulates. 

 

To my mind, we can't be moving fast enough away from ICEs... 

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The cost of manufacturing an e-car is ~30% less than gas/diesel.  Given the MSRP, there is zero doubt that e-cars will dominate (and replace) gas/diesel.

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On 16/03/2019, 16:42:02, SpiderPig said:

If you are worried about Lung poisoning... lets talk about Cigarettes... 

 

Apparently wood burners are having a huge impact on London and Paris air quality too.

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Probably because they are cheap polish imports and have no particle filters etc...   

 

On each wood burner there is a label that states how much fine particle they chuck out.... 

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On 3/16/2019, 4:42:02, SpiderPig said:

If you are worried about Lung poisoning... lets talk about Cigarettes... 

To the greatest extent smokers are poisoning themselves, with so few people still using tobacco, passive smoking has fallen to extremely low levels. That is not the case for ices and particularly diesels their users are poisoning me.:angry:

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51 minutes ago, SpiderPig said:

Probably because they are cheap polish imports and have no particle filters etc...   

 

On each wood burner there is a label that states how much fine particle they chuck out... 

 

According to Kings College London, the difference between a smokeless fire and a non-smokeless fire is that you can't see the pollution...

 

Plus the label is assuming that you are burning dry seasoned wood. I know of a home in London that continuesly would burn wet wood, smoke the street out, and because the fire was DEFRA exempt nothing would get done. 

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Let´s see if I can summarize some EV advantage in terms of eco-friendliness.

 


Emissions
For argument sake, ignoring all other EV´s efficiencies, let´s assume you produce the same amount of emissions as an ICE car.
The ICE car does it on a road, EVs do it on power plants. The huge advantage is that you can install much better filters on a power plant than on each car.
Also the power plant is usually far away from where people live, so in terms of health, it is a much better solution.

Another point is that by using electricity, EVs can use any electricity energy source, including less polluting solutions like solar, wind, thermal or nuclear.

Also ICE cars pollute mostly during the day, when people are on the streets. Electric power plants can have a more even distribution, especially during the night, where people are not outdoors.

 

Efficiency
An electric car is, for the same amount of energy, around 3x more efficient. So the question is how efficient is to bring that energy into the car.
For an ICE car, you need to extract oil, you need to carry the oil all around the world, then you need to refine it, then you need to transport it by truck to the gas station. All of this is very energy inneficient.
For an EV, you can generate electricity from different power sources. The huge advantage is that transport of electricity is highly efficient. A 100km transmission has an efficiency larger than 99%. A 1000km would be around 95%.
The charging process has perhaps 5-10% inneficiency.
So not only an EV is 3x more energy efficiency when transforming energy to movement, it is also much more efficient when you consider the production and transport.

Future developments will bring more power density, meaning even more efficiency. ICE cars can´t increase their efficiency much more.

 

Optimization of power grid
One unplanned effect of EVs is that they can dramatically increase the efficiency of the existing power grid.
The power grid is currently ruled by peak consumption during some hours of the day, while wasting energy at night, when nobody needs it.
EVs can charge at night and basically use "free" energy that would normally be wasted.
Intelligent power grids, like Tesla´s Australia installation can also normalize the production by compensating the peaks with previously stored energy.
This optimization alone can probably triple the current power grid efficiency.

 

Production
Although batteries use rare materials like cobalt and lithium, more recent batteries are using less and less. Tesla has reduced the amount of cobalt per car from 11kg to 4kg.
They also say that the next gen battery being worked now will use ZERO cobalt.
Lithium usage is also decreasing every year, on average between manufacturers.
On the other hand, ICE catalytic converters use rare earth materials. Not only that, high temperature exaust is known as a common source for wildfires.

Some EVs manufacturers use a lot of carbon fiber and other eco-unfriendly materials, to reduce weight of the car. But new models are going for common materials. Tesla Model 3 is mostly steel, no carbon fiber, and much less aluminium than Model S.

 

Regenerative braking
EVs recover energy when braking, while pure ICE cars don´t. It also saves on brakes, which reduces particles emissions.

 

Car life time
Although battery end of life is a concern, batteries can be partially recycled. Also next gen batteries will last 20-30 years, more than the usual car life span.
Also as maintenance is much lower, less is spent on materials, therefore reducing eco impact.

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I'm for the safety issue of E-Cars when it comes to pedestrians and bicyclists. Ok, you can see them from far off usually, but there are occassions where they are around a bend in the road and not so visible. 

 

People are part of the environment and pedestrians (and bicyclists) are at a bit of a risk in some situations where an E-Car is involved. We are encouraged to get out and partake of exercise and that in fresh air but the E-Car could be a hazard to some who are trying to do those very things. Of course, walkers and bicyclists could just stay on the paths in parks and woods where E-Cars have no access but at some point they may come in contact with an actual E-Car use road, as in, need to get back off the path and onto the road to their office/home. It's important to develop and intigrate sensors for E-Cars to signal them that people on foot and bikes are up ahead and around those corners but there must also be some development of a divise to allow the pedestrian and the cyclist to also be forewarned in those particular situations. 

 

Ok, you should look both ways before you cross the road, but sometimes where the crossing is, there is a bend in the tree lined road and you can only go on the headlights shining from a distance or stepping out in front of said oncoming E-Car before you know it's coming round that bend. With a 'normal' car you can also hear the car's motor running and that's a warning not to cross the road too. Same for pedestrians who live in rural areas with no sidewalk. Usually you can hear the 'normal' car coming and squish over to the very edge of the roadside, if not onto a patch of turf, if there is any, to avoid the E-car that is hogging the middle of the road and coming up behind you. Without walking at night, dusk or dawn or in inclimate weather to see the shine of the E-Car's headlights, you may not be able to hurry to the very precipice to avoid the E-Car as it blithely rolls at you.

 

 

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18 minutes ago, Mackle said:

Ah but Mike, what about EMF? :D

Unsubstantiated conspiracy theory.

 

I´ve met and documented a case of hypersensitivity to electromagnetic fields, which was solved by proper grounding of his house.

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3 minutes ago, cybil said:

With a 'normal' car you can also hear the car's motor running and that's a warning not to cross the road too. Same for pedestrians who live in rural areas with no sidewalk.

To my displease, there is an EU regulation that will force EVs to emmit (external) noise in city environments. The good thing is that the noise can be chosen in a way that it is not heard inside houses.

 

In any case, new cars must have an automatic braking system to avoid hitting pedestrians.

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1 hour ago, MikeMelga said:

...

In any case, new cars must have an automatic braking system to avoid hitting pedestrians.

 

 

I assume that you didn't watch Topgear on Sunday, when they tested just such a system and it did nothing!   (No clip online so I can't post it)

 

And there is also this:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6781955/BMWs-pedestrian-detection-FAILS-slow-car-approaches-dummy-tests.html

 

 

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11 minutes ago, dj_jay_smith said:

I assume that you didn't watch Topgear on Sunday, when they tested just such a system and it did nothing!   (No clip online so I can't post it)

 

And there is also this:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6781955/BMWs-pedestrian-detection-FAILS-slow-car-approaches-dummy-tests.html

Sorry, your post is bullshit. The article clearly says that most of the other cars performed as expected. And you picked one that didn´t and made it the general rule instead of the exception.

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10 minutes ago, MikeMelga said:

Sorry, your post is bullshit. The article clearly says that most of the other cars performed as expected. And you picked one that didn´t and made it the general rule instead of the exception.

 

I did not say that the system does not work at all.

I did not say that all cars failed.

I did not apply a general rule to anything.

 

I simply pointed out that in this article there are failures and in Top gear on Sunday there were also failures.  

1 failure = 1 avoidable death.

 

In fact you have implied in your statement that this technology will be a 'saviour' and that there will be so such problems in the future.  This I would argue is not true.  As even if the technology worked perfectly every single time, there are still cases where there is simply not enough time/distance for the vehicle to stop.

 

So there is NOTHING in my statement that is bullshit and I resent you stating as such!

 

 

 

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You are criticizing a technology that would work ON TOP of what we currently have.   What we have now?  A human driving a car and having to react when someone walks in front of the car.  What the new technology offers?  A human driving a car and having to react when someone walks in front of the car and if the human fails the car will break automatically.  

 

The technology is new, of course it is not yet perfect.   But maybe we should just continue trusting the humans only.

 

Sorry, but sometimes people are so backwards. 

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Please excuse my ignorance but isn't the driver still supposed to be alert and watching out for unforeseen circumstances such as pedestrians, etc. stepping in the road? Can't the driver then override the autonomous program and brake/turn accordingly? You know, like it has always been done? Or is the driver supposed to be sleeping or texting or whatever else?

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