Featured The Dirty Truth About Combustion Engine Vehicles

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by El Dobro, Mar 7, 2021.

  1. El Dobro

    El Dobro A Member

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    From Robert LLewellyn and Fully Charged, this is a great bit of animation to send to someone that argues which pollutes more, the ICE or EVs.

     
  2. Prashanta

    Prashanta Active Member

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    Yes, well-to-wheel CO2 emissions of EVs is lower than that of fossil-fuel burning vehicles. But this video glosses over some important details and is unfortunately a little biased. We can promote EVs without any need for bias.

    He mentions that 70% of the energy in ICE cars is wasted. It's lower than that now, especially if you go hybrid. The dynamic force engines are 41% efficient in hybrid applications and they operate near their peak efficiency significant percent of the time. All modern engines are approaching this now. Average coal fired power plant is 37% efficient, so it's in the same ballpark. Combustion is simply an inefficient process for extracting useful energy. Gas plants have notably higher average efficiency, however, they have contributed to increase in methane emissions which has been poorly regulated, and methane is a potent GHG, much more so than CO2.

    The second thing it does not mention is that not all fuels release the same amount of CO2 for a unit of energy burned. Coal is the worst in this regard followed by oil, and finally natural gas which releases the least amount of CO2 per unit energy burned. Well-to-wheel efficiency of EVs is higher than regular cars even when they are running on coal because they have regenerative brakes, which the typical ICE car does not. But because hybrids do, and since oil burns leaner than coal, it's actually better to drive a hybrid rather than an EV if the electricity is mostly sourced from coal. And I understand, there are only a few places where electricity is mostly coal-sourced.

    The third thing the video does not mention is that the coal also had to be mined. It also had to be transported. And it also needs to be refined, though that does not require the same amount of energy as refining oil. The video does not mention that about ~80% of the CO2 you emit from driving an ICE car is produced in the car through the burning of gasoline even though the video focused mainly on the other 20%.

    The fact that hybrids and EVs running on coal-heavy electricity are in the same ballpark should give people some pause. We aren't saving the world simply by switching to EVs. There's a much bigger push to switch people to EVs than there is to close coal-fired power plants, when I'd argue that the latter is the lowest-hanging fruit at the moment. (We're lucky that renewable energy is increasingly undercutting coal in price.) We're halfway there simply by switching to hybrids and replacing coal-fired power plants. We can do that without changing the grid infrastructure. It's such a no-brainer that it's infuriating it's taking so long to do even that.

    This is all very complicated and we cannot expect the average person to account for all these variables. That's why the EPA and related agencies worldwide should simply publish the well-to-wheel CO2 emissions per mile of driving where you live. That figure will vary by state. It might be too difficult to have finer granularity than that. It should be prominent on the window sticker. And for even better solution, each vehicle would provide consumers two numbers: well-to-wheel CO2 emissions per mile, and the same figure given the electricity mix 5 years prior. That way people can clearly see the pace at which their grid is greening and make an informed decision accordingly.

    EPA's fueleconomy.gov does provide you well-to-wheel efficiency for any vehicle for each zip code. Check it out!

    Here I have compared the Mach E with RAV 4 Hybrid:
    Compare Side-by-Side



    I can see that well-to-wheel GHG emissions per mile for the RAV4 is 267g. And for comparison, that figure is 160 for the Mach-E. So the average Mach-E driver produces about 40% fewer GHGs in the US compared to the average RAV4 driver.
     
    #2 Prashanta, Mar 7, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2021
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  3. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    Compare Side-by-Side


    If you look the 40% efficient camry le gets 32 mpg, the 41% efficient camry le hybrid engine gets 52 mpg, while the tesla gets 141 mpge (this includes charging losses). That non hybrid camry can only go 23% as far with the same energy in the tank as the bev can go with energy from the plug. The hybrid camry (I picked the most efficient one) can only go 37% as far. Of course that bev is not 100% efficient so I would say even the hybrid is less than 30% efficient in getting power from gasoline through to the wheels.

    On greenhouse gasses the hybrid produces 1.9x more including production of the gasoline and electricity, the non hybrid produces 3x more on the US grid and this difference will get bigger as the grid gets cleaner. West virginia has the highest percentage of coal in their electricity mix. Even charged in west virginia that hybrid will produce 1.5 x the ghg per mile. Of course you can pick less efficient bevs or less efficient hybrids, but the hybrid does reduce ghg significantly versus the non hybrid models, but a phev or bev will reduce it more, especially in the future. Toyota had decades to get the most of that camry hybrid le. Tesla is still finding efficiency gains.
     
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  4. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

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  5. Prashanta

    Prashanta Active Member

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    It's not meaningful to compare MPGe with MPG because the MPGe does not account for the inefficient conversion of energy that took place in the power plant. The only sensible thing to do is to compare the GHG emissions per mile driven in your region.
     
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  6. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    It doesn't though. In fact, that is commonly at the heart of why enthusiasts disparage Toyota.

    Quite unlike early-adopters who actually exhibit critical thinking, enthusiasts simply don't have the patience or interest for addressing barriers. They want certain tech to be rolled out regardless of negative impact. Thankfully, Toyota has never allowed enthusiast hype to get in the way of doing things right. That approach of comprehensively dealing with all aspects of impact prior to committing high-volume production out irritates the heck out of enthusiasts. But it doesn't matter, since they aren't the audience.

    Succumbing to hype and short-term gains is of no interest to Toyota. Their loyal customers want the opposite, something thoroughly refined in every regard... including stuff like charging. Antagonists are well aware of that and exploit it as a supposed weakness.

    Sadly, we are seeing that now playing out in Minnesota, as the California rule adoption is being finalized. Outright lies are being spread about intent & outcome. That reveals talk about "truth" and supporting data haven't worked. People don't pause. In general, most tend to respond with knee-jerk reaction and basically no thought.

    In other words, those of us who started with "Ugh" reactions to that nonsense are now changing to "Grrrr!" The propaganda to resist change is ramping up as the pressure builds on the status quo.
     
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  7. Rmay635703

    Rmay635703 Senior Member

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    What if you charge from off grid solar panels?

    What if you charge from hydro or nuclear?


    What the article doesn’t discuss is that 5% of all fossils fuels are lost to “spoilage”, this could be in the form of VOC anywhere from refinery to pump or in the form of contaminated ground or ground water resultant from fracking or downright spills.

    Also not discussed is the contamination of lead, arsenic, chromium and other heavy metals in and around wells.

    The reality is that the supply chain makes more pollution getting your gallon of gas from the ground to your car than your car could ever produce burning said gallon of gas .

    The only solution to reducing this pollution is to use less fuel.

    Nobody cares about supply side pollution in gas cars and instead use a mathematical formula to provide a delightful clean outlook on refineries that has no basis in reality ignoring the reality of aging infrastructure leaks and failures making this one system emit pollution levels that dwarf your cars emissions on a per gallon processed basis .

    Too bad nobody wants to actually measure or tally cradle to grave in the real world and stays in the fantasy land of propaganda
     
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  8. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    MPG doesn't account for the energy and emissions it took to convert petroleum to gasoline.

    The Union of Concerned Scientists has converted the GHG emissions for the EPA eGrids into a MPG figure for an average plug in available to make such comparisons easier for the public to make. Though the recent update they put out was for 2016.

    New Data Show Electric Vehicles Continue to Get Cleaner - Union of Concerned Scientists

    There are regions where a hybrid would be better than this average plug in, but they also ran the numbers for the top efficient plug ins of the time; Prius Prime, Ioniq Electric, and Model 3, and only on one of the Hawaiian islands are they bested by a 50mpg hybrid.

    The full report is here; Cleaner Cars from Cradle to Grave | Union of Concerned Scientists

    People are working to close coal plants down because of the pollution. Their efforts just aren't usually worthy of national coverage. Between them, and the rising costs of running these plants, the amount of coal in the US grid mix has been steadily dropping for years. It was at 23% in a 2019 report. The data used for that report, and by the UCS, is likely two years out of date. Plug ins are likely doing better.
    Electricity generation, capacity, and sales in the United States - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)
     
  9. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    Of course when you are talking about efficiency for a given energy input it is meaningful. Even in a hybrid less than 30% of the energy in gasoline gets to the wheels including regeneration. MPGE in a plug in actually is from the plug and includes charging losses, while gasoline is recorded from the tank. If you are talking well, or mine, or wind, or sun, to wheel yes you are going to take a efficiency hit, but that plug-in will remain more efficient in every us state if you don't count the efficiency of renewables and its hard to talk about how efficient wind or solar really is.

    I also gave you ghg in the average US neighborhood and the highest percentage coal state for production of electricity. Of course average us grid is not used for the fleet of plug-in cars the average for them is lower given their geographic distribution. I really tried to be exactly apples to apples if plug-ins (phev and bev) took a large percentage of the US. Most of the ghg analysis where it looked worse were on older technology cars. If you are looking at the most efficient bevs (these are actually the ones that sell the best) and most efficient non plug-in hybrids. The best selling hybrid in the US last year was the rav4 hybrid not the more efficient camry, corrola, ioniq, etc.

    Compare Side-by-Side



    On efficiency in the rav4 hybrid on gasoline used 2.25x the energy as the rav4 prime on electricity (a more powerful phev) and over 3x the energy as the awd tesla model Y long range. The tesla model Y awd long range produced less than half the ghg on the US grid. Of course many of us that have bought plug-ins now have solar also. Do we need to look at pure coal emissions when they no longer exist anywhere in the US? Even in west virginia with 91% of electricity generated by coal that 9% of renewable means carbon intensity is only 91% ;-) I guess oahu in hawaii is worst on ghg and uses inefficient oil electricity generation. That oil has to be shipped long distances to get their making the electricity even more carbon intense if you account for it. Given that there are less than a million cars on oahu versus over 300 million in the US then its not going to make much difference either way. Sure if you are using oil generation for electricity a hybrid will likely be better. Then again electricity and gasoline are both expensive on that island, so it may be cheaper going off grid with solar and a battery.

    Other countries the calculations may be different but a plug-in is going to be more efficient.

    Tesla, CATL, LG, Panasonic and are all helping to drive down the cost and energy needed to build battery packs. As this happens and oil prices rise again (they are starting to do that now) plug-ins will grow to a bigger percentage of the car market.
     
    #9 austingreen, Mar 7, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2021
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  10. Prashanta

    Prashanta Active Member

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    Then, EVs are the better choice for you. I don't see how we're at odds. If your region has significant hydro or nuclear, you CO2 emissions per mile would be significantly lower with an EV. The window sticker I suggested would reflect that.

    Off-grid solar system capable charge an EV needs to be substantially large keep in mind.
     
  11. Prashanta

    Prashanta Active Member

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    I didn't say to look at MPG or to compare it with MPGe. EPA publishes well-to-wheel GHG emissions per mile for every type of vehicle for this very reason. That's what I'm suggesting to compare.
     
    #11 Prashanta, Mar 7, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2021
  12. vvillovv

    vvillovv Senior Member

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    Four Thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire

    NASA has done a lot of work with solar and batteries not to mention a lot of other things most of us know very little about if anything at all.

    The video IMO is very one sided as in US against Them. It's going to be interesting and a hard road ahead until the spark that actually gets what's needed in motion to reduce all the values we humans hold on so tightly too in each of out cultures.

    I wonder what that spark will be. And if it will raise the standard of living or reduce it.
     
    #12 vvillovv, Mar 7, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2021
  13. 3PriusMike

    3PriusMike Prius owner since 2000, Tesla M3 2018

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    What do you consider to be "large?"

    Lets say you get about 250wh per mile and you travel 10000 miles per year.
    You would need about 2500 kwh per year.
    I have 12 panels on my roof and I generate ~4000 kwh/yr...so that would require about 7.5 panels. Is that large?
    Maybe to go 15000 miles is large since it would require 11 or 12 panels?

    Mike
     
  14. Lee Jay

    Lee Jay Senior Member

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    Please don't use number-of-panels. I have a 1 watt panel and a 5 watt panel and I've seen 550 watt panels. We use 250's at my flying field.

    Number of panels is a meaningless measure.
     
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  15. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    fyi - this is the grid in 2019 (released 2/2021)
    https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2021-02/documents/egrid2019_summary_tables.pdf

    It is hard to crunch some numbers but they are there. wV is highest in coal but epa doesn't assign all of wv coal production to users there since it is part of a much cleaner subgrid. The worst subgrid is in oahu, and indeed suppling electricity mainly by burning oil with some from coal does make it have the worst numbers. Some would assign things differently.

    The only place in the US, now in 2021 that appears to give plug-ins worse ghg per mile than equivalent hybrids is the island of oahu, where most of hawaii's population lives. Slice and dice things differently than the epa and you might pick other small car markets, but these can easily be cleaned up. It makes sense most electricity generated in oahu is from oil, and this is expensive making it one of the most expensive with residential rates about $0.35/kwh. Hawaii wants to go all renewable by 2045 which will likely make electricity much less expensive, but there are growing pains so going off grid is actually cheaper today. The average new solar on oahu is around 5 KW. Lets say you get a slightly less efficient plug-in like the rav4 prime and drive it 10,000 miles (average on oahu is around 7000 miles) you would need about 3 kw of solar panels to charge that car. It is a big system to combine them. Maybe you really need 10 KW to be off grid to account for charging and discharging the batteries. That's bigger than my roof, but what if you could do most and have all the solar with batteries working to clean the grid. Everyone's costs would go down. Go with a more efficient plug-in like the prime or tesla model 3 and system size is going to drop to 2 kw to charge the car.

    Home solar batteries in Hawaii to provide capacity, grid services through 80MW virtual power plant | Energy Storage News
    A system like this is complicated but will help reduce oahu's oil consumption for electricity.
     
  16. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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  17. 3PriusMike

    3PriusMike Prius owner since 2000, Tesla M3 2018

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    Panels on most every roof are all the same size. Anyone who has bothered to look at a few roofs knows what the standard panel looks like. About 3' x 5'.

    Mike
     
  18. Prashanta

    Prashanta Active Member

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    Alex on Autos has shared his experience with using solar to charge an EV:



    Building a small scale solar power plant on your roof or on your lawn cannot take advantage of economies of scale and compete with larger solar farms. I thought solar tiles might be the answer as they double as the roofing material itself, but those are even less economical.
     
  19. Lee Jay

    Lee Jay Senior Member

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    Nope. That's just not true. Generally residential panels range from around 100W to around 500W each, depending on manufacturer and model, though the majority are in the 250W-450W range if installed currently (the smaller ones are older or used for transportation applications).
     
  20. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    If Hawaii is likely to succeed in going close to 100% renewable they most likely will also use hydrogen. Kawaii can use pumped storage to hold renewable energy for when its needed, but there will be too much for this in oahu. It likely will be cheaper to build large low pressure hydrogen tanks to store energy than batteries (that are better for grid stability). Hydrogen can also be used to replace some of the natural gas they import, as well as being able to be used to make synthetic methane and methanol. They are talking 2045 to be all renewable grid, hydrogen will likely be a help.

    tl;df

    Its really hard to tell real information from misinformation in any of these video type things. Can you summarize the points and provide numbers.

    You can not just tell the utility to build you solar and back up in many places. Can you tell me how to take advantage of these economies of scale and actually get the power to your home? Alex lives in california and I believe he is served by PG&E, you know the utility that caused some of the worst forest fires and black outs. Your cost of solar from one of their commercial sized solar will include a lot of costs that you don't need to pay at home. But really in that part of the country I don't understand going off grid with a BEV. It doesn't make much sense. I stopped watching when he said 5000 kwh for a polestar. Why would you buy that car over a model 3 standard range plus that is 1.5x more efficient. I actually think 5000 kwh for the year is a little low. Let's call it 6000 kwh for 15,000 miles a year, that would require about 4700 watts of solar (at the less efficient texas production my panels produce) for his car or about 14 solar panels. If it was the tesla it would consume only 2/3 as much or about 3000 watts of solar or 9 panels for the car charging. Those of us that have gone solar typically try to figure out what is consuming the most electricity and if we can replace it with something more efficient. You can buy more expensive more efficient panels than I did for this example but they seem to be the mainstream size now.

    I talked about battery backed up solar in hawaii because A) you can do it now and actually save money, B) your current electricity is coming mostly from burning oil so going solar and battery will decrease all your fuel consumption, C) the utility is maxed out on solar so it is all being built non utility until the utility can build more infrastructure to handle all the solar variation. Off grid is never a purely economic or environmental decision. Hopefully this managed solar and battery system can work.

    Costs Continue to Decline for Residential and Commercial Photovoltaics in 2018 | News | NREL
     
    #20 austingreen, Mar 9, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2021
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