Additionally, energy consumed making electric car batteries renders electric cars likely more polluting than gas cars over their lifetime.
4/16/12, "Update on the EPA’s Electric Vehicle Mileage Fraud," Coyote blog, Warren Meyer (bio)
"I have written several articles (here and here) outlining why the EPA’s method of giving electric cars an equivalent or eMPG is outright fraudulent. I calculated for the average driver, for example, that the Nissan Leaf’s 99 eMPG was actually closer to 36. Why? Well, in the EPA’s methodology, the science-based Obama administration
- pretends the 2nd law of thermodynamics does not exist.
- called well to wheels.
So here is something I thought I would never write: It turns out the Union of Concerned Scientists agrees with me. Apparently they have used a similar methodology to rework electric vehicle MPGs based on the fuel mix of the power in different cities, rather than an average national fuel mix as I did it. I am not sure how they did the analysis – did they use average fuel mix or the marginal fuel, and if the marginal fuel did they assume the marginal fuel at night or during the day? For example, certain California cities look good with solar use but that does not do anything for typical night time car charging.
Anyway, the problem is hard and I could quibble with how they did it. But the results are telling – everywhere they looked, even in the hydro-powered Pacific Northwest, the eMPG they got was lower than that of the EPA’s. And in many cases much lower.
If corporations were using the EPA’s eMPG methodology, they would be busted by the FTC for false advertising. It’s time to fix this calculation so Fisker Karma drivers can’t continue to fool themselves into thinking they are doing something positive for the environment."
6/10/11, "Electric cars may not be so green after all, says British study," The Australian, Ben Webster
"Emissions from manufacturing electric cars are at least 50 per cent higher because batteries are made from materials such as lithium, copper and refined silicon, which
- require much energy to be processed.
Electric car batteries require rare earths in their manufacture which are very polluting to mine. The US chooses not to mine its own rare earths and relies on Communist China for what it needs.
6/5/11, "RARE EARTHS: USA CONCERNS, US CONGRESS ETC…," simonthongwh.com
"Rare earths and other critical minerals are essential to the manufacture of green technologies including wind turbine generators, advanced solar panels and electric car batteries."...
"Rare Earth Metals," UCLA Institute of Environment and Sustainability
3/15/12, "Rare earth case reveals US hypocrisy," China Daily, Chen Weihua
Commenter to Coyote article computes that Nissan loses money on every car:
"Brooks: @Arthur Felter:
"First, because government subsidies of the Nissan Leaf are justified on carbon “footprint”, I am subsidizing your purchase of the Leaf not because it saves you money but because it supposedly puts less carbon containing gases in the atmosphere.
Second, being economically minded, you should know that your economic analysis should go much further than just the cost of powering your car per mile. You must compare a similarly sized and equipped gas powered car with the Leaf. Being generous to your argument, a similarly sized and base model car would get at a minimum 35 MPG and cost about $16,000. A base model leaf starts at $27,000 after you take out my subsidy for your purchase of $7500. You now have to make up at least $11,000 (I am being generous to Leaf owners by saying the car only gets 35 MPG and costs $14,000 and not taking into account the taxpayer subsidy,
- or for that matter, the taxpayer penalty of gas taxes that is not on electricity.)
Assuming your figures are correct, the effect MPG difference is 84-35 or 49 MPG. Using 49 MPG will allow me to perform the calculation between car types only once.
Now you have to take into account a big part of the maintenance of electrical cars that gas cars do not have, the battery. Seeing as manufacturers are deathly afraid of publicizing easy to understand replacement guidelines for electric batteries, we have to make inferences. Nissan claims that 70% of Leaf users drive less than 40 miles per day and thus the battery will be at 80% at 5 years.
I am going to assume then that at 10 years and less than 40 miles per day it will be time to replace the battery because it will be at 60% capacity or less. If you drive more, the degradation will be faster. To be fair, our gas powered car will need a $200 battery replacement at 10 years as well. Nissan’s own faq states, “At this point, an estimated cost cannot be provided. We’ll be able to share more as information becomes available. You can sign up to stay in the loop.” Hmm, I wonder why? Online estimates have it without labor as costing $12,000. Since it would be PR suicide to charge customers that much, I will make it an even $5,000. (And crater the resale value of the car…)
40 miles per day is 14610 miles per year or $1192 using your figures. The net present value of the gas savings for 2012 with a midyear calculation point @ 49 MPG @ $4 is $1163. 2013-$1106. 2014-$1052 all the way till 2021-$741. NPV of the battery replacement minus the cost of a regular batter is $2985.
Adding all these up you get a cost savings of $6399 over a 35MPG car that costs 16000. Adding in the purchase price difference, you are still in the hole $4600.
So lets not try to justify all this on costs. The only reason to own one is to “supposedly” put less carbon [dioxide] in the atmosphere, which is doubtful at best, a horrible scam at worst. This number becomes SIGNFICANTLY worse if you take out the taxpayer penalties for using gas and the taxpayer subsidies for buying an electric vehicle.
So to sum up, Nissan loses money on every car sold. There worst nightmare would be if these cars became popular. You lose money compared to your other similar sized and equipped options. The taxpayer loses money from the subsidy. The government loses money from the subsidy and the lost gas tax revenues. If this is the payout of a green economy, wowee!"
Another commenter, a battery user
Batteries are good for short bursts, not long hauls
As someone with a pickup and a load of rechargeable battery powered tools in the side bins, I look at the costs of replacing my batteries on a regular basis and wonder how it works for electric and hybrid cars. I take care of my batteries and try to prolong their lives as long as possible, but they all go kaput eventually. The manufacturers know the deal. The tools are cheap. The batteries are expensive. The battery tools are great for convenience, self-contained, short burst use. They can’t beat a corded tool for power, long term performance, weight, reliability, torque, longevity and cost. It seems to be the same with cars. One of these days, a minority of the population will discover that hybrids and electric vehicles are not all cracked up to expectations."
via Tom Nelson, via Climate Depot