Featured Washington Post: Coal and Electric Cars

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by kgall, Nov 24, 2015.

  1. kgall

    kgall Active Member

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    I think we all knew that coal-fired electric plants reduce the climate benefits of electric cars. And we know how dependent China is on coal for electricity. However, I did not realize that the problem is big in the Netherlands and some other highly developed, climate-conscious countries as well.

    Electric cars’ dirty secret: All the coal needed to run them

    Quote on "break even points" in the US:

    "In coal-fired Colorado, a gasoline car with fuel economy better than 34 miles per gallon will be better for emissions than the average electric car, according to calculations from the Union of Concerned Scientists. In hydropowered Upstate New York, in contrast, the same gas car would need to achieve 112 miles per gallon. In the Washington region, the figure stands between 60 and 63 miles per gallon."
     
    #1 kgall, Nov 24, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2015
  2. Zythryn

    Zythryn Senior Member

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    Coal is nasty stuff. That is no secret and nothing new.
    As a society, we are getting away from coal, which is good.

    That being said, even if an electric car were run 100% on coal generated electricity, it would still be cleaner than the average car.
    As our grid gets cleaner, the EVs already on the road get cleaner.
    As EVs become more efficient, new EVs get cleaner.
     
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  3. kgall

    kgall Active Member

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    Zithryn, you are right--and I added a quote from the article to show that, at least for the US and for average gas cars. But it's complicated in some places:
    For example, a Prius hybrid is cleaner than an electric if the power was generated in Colorado. In upstate NY, as the numbers show, the electric car wins.
    I haven't looked at the UCS survey this is based on, but I bet that they take into account all greenhouse gas sources for electric power, not just coal.
     
  4. Zythryn

    Zythryn Senior Member

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    Oh, they do.
    The Prius is also cleaner in my home state of Minnesota, using grid power.
    The cool part is, EVs are getting cleaner, fairly rapidly.
    When the UCS first did a paper on this, they used the 2009 grid. Their latest report uses data from the 2012 grid. The improvement is substantial.
    When you consider how much cleaner the grid is now than in 2012, well EVs don't need to make any efficiency gains in their construction, as they automatically get cleaner as the grid does.

    In a nutshell, the average EV is cleaner than a 50mpg car for 66% of the population as of 2012.
    The new Prius upped the game with a maximum 58mpg with the gen 4 Eco trim. But until hybrids can break out of the 3%-4% market share range, the help from plugins is desperately needed.
     
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  5. Stevevee

    Stevevee Active Member

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    Fuuny how nobody ever listened to the scientists when it came to actually achieving goals, and how to meet them.
     
  6. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    at least it doesn't come from the middle east or venezuela.
     
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  7. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    Many (most?) BEV's/PHEV's charge overnight when the grid is at base load so no additional emissions occur just because they plug in.

    In addition, many owners have taken a closer look at their personal/family electrical usage and changed things to either become more efficient, greener, or both.
     
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  8. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Wait a minute . . . does that coal plant also keep house lights on or businesses operating?

    The answer is simple . . . buy an electric car and bulldoze someone's house when they are away for the holidays. They're gone, the grid is freed up, and you can run an electric car on what they used to waste on light, heating, e.t.c.

    This is the application of "false equivalency" back at the fraudsters.

    Bob Wilson
     
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  9. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    How much "less dirty" will the secret be next year? :cool:

    Texas’ grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), keeps track of all electric generation in the state year to year, and evidence from 2015 suggests renewables have taken off. ERCOT’s installed wind capacity – or the amount of wind energy capable of being produced – is projected to increase nearly 25 percent from 2014 by year’s end. In addition, solar capacity has increased more than 30 percent this year. And the groundwork has been laid for an explosion in 2016: ERCOT solar installations are expected to quadruple, and wind installations are forecast to grow more than 35 percent.

    5 Signs of Texas’ Clean Energy Momentum in 2015
     
  10. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    change the house power to gasoline.
     
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  11. mikefocke

    mikefocke Prius v Three 2012, Avalon 2011

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    "the amount of wind energy capable of being produced" is how related to the amount of generation to when the wind doesn't blow or the wind blows so hard the blades have to be feathered? Is the industry trying to take the political heat off themselves stating things this way?

    I live in NC where the electricity largely comes from coal. We have a huge coal ash disposal problem. A environmentally neglectful power producer. An almost complete lack of state environmental regulation.

    How many years and how many rate hikes will it take before such a state produces enough green energy to support even 20% EVs?
     
  12. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    How long will it take to have the grid cleaner than oil infrastructure? UCS is from 2012. Clean power plan is complete in 2030. My guess is the grid is cleaner today for 90% of plug-in cars. That is the owner either lives where the grid is cleaner, or purchases enough renewables to have lower ghg.

    By 2030 will it be even 1%? What is the point to point out those states that are slowest to reduce coal?
     
  13. Lucifer

    Lucifer Senior Member

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    What's you's make's on the popcorn you lose'es on the peanuts.
    It's preposterous, but bicycles don't pollute..as much.
    Possibly Tesla's(not this paypal poser) idea of electricity on demand anywhere(wireless), irregardless of the emissions might have brought us to this point 50 years ago, but here we are, oil doesn't work, coal is worse, what's a guy gotta do to get there~electric is "funny" seems the consequences are adding up.
     
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  14. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    I don't understand why the 37% of coal in electricity last year, makes electricity worse than oil? It just means that the country should keep retiring its old coal plants and replace them with something better. That something better is wind, solar, and much more efficient new fast cycling ccgt natural gas electric plants.

    Plug-ins cost more than gasoline cars, but the price of batteries is going down. Plug-ins and biofuels are the two ways that are cheapest to reduce the oil footprint. With planes getting bombed and shot down in the middle east, it seems a small price to pay to get out of being opec dependent.
     
  15. FL_Prius_Driver

    FL_Prius_Driver Senior Member

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    That is the question looking from the top down. Don't forget there is a question from the bottom up....

    How long till I start producing enough PV green energy to support 100% of my EVs?
     
  16. PLSPUSH

    PLSPUSH Active Member

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    wind power charges my leaf, our prius is the gas guzzler!
     
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  17. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    or backfeed your plugin diesel VW to run your house. Or if you really want to think i'mcrazy sick, since plugins are cleaner on coal than even regular gas cars, we should build more coal plants for the plugins.

    .
     
    #17 hill, Nov 25, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2015
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  18. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    To go along with that, the average new, personal vehicle in the US gets 27.5mpg.
    Yes, some of those new vehicles are trucks and such for small businesses, but the average also includes all the Prii being bought.
     
  19. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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  20. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    heck, we can't break it at 2 bucks.
     
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