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June 13, 2011

New Study: Electric Cars Could Produce Higher Emissions Over Their Lifetimes Than Petrol Equivalents (Updated)

Topics: Environment, Global Warming, Political News and commentaries

In yet another one of those unintended consequences and self-fulfilling prophecies that JimFact spoke of, turns out that those 'green' electric cars aren't so green after all.

As Ed Morrissey points out, If we want the most "green" solution for mass-produced energy in personal transportation, the answer is natural gas, not electric vehicles. That wouldn't need overwhelming federal subsidies for decades to give the illusion of competitiveness, either.

Meanwhile, GM's CEO wants you to pay a $1.00 a gallon higher gas tax to force you to buy more of the little green, emision-increasing, vehicles.

Hyscience contributor Althor sends along these additional comments in the way of an update to the post:

Anyone who was a child old enough to understand the concept, that rode through Exxon's "The Universe of Energy" in Epcot Center (back before Disney replaced the scientific introduction in the show with Ellen DeGeneres and her "The Universe of Gayness") will remember how at the start of the ride, before the dinosaurs, it was explained how, quote: "... energy is never destroyed, nor is new energy created, but energy is perceived in different forms..."

In other words, when we burn fossil fuels or natural gas to generate the electricity that then we use to power an electric car, we are just changing one type of energy into another.

The problem is, that due to entropy - the tendency of a concentrated higher state of energy to deteriorate into a more diffused lower state of energy, as per the Second Law of Thermodynamics - you need to spend more energy to convert the diffused lower state of energy in the fossil fuels and natural gas (or as when we convert grains such as corn into ethanol) we burn to generate electricity, than the amount of concentrated higher state energy that in the form of electricity, we then use to power those electric cars.

Thereby, we would generate more "Greenhouse Gases", CO2, and pollutants burning fossil fuels and natural gas to generate the electricity that then we use to power our supposedly "Environmentally Friendly", "Green", electric cars, than if we outright burn those fossil fuels in a combustion engine to power those very same cars. And this, not even taking into account all the electrical energy that inevitably will be lost due to electrical resistance in the transmission of that electrical energy through the grid, and in the wiring on its way to the batteries that will power the vehicle, which would have been utilized in the combustion when directly converting the energy locked up in the fossil fuels to directly power the vehicle, which will be wasted!

Or the fact that as advanced as our Nickel-Metal Hydride and Lithium-Ion (the one used in the Chevy "Volt") battery cell technology is, you still have to put more energy into a battery or cell to charge it, than you get out of it when you use it - unless you have a "Superconductive System" requiring temperatures of minus 243.2 degrees Celsius (- 405.76 degrees Fahrenheit). The boiling point of nitrogen is -195.79 Celsius
(-320.44 degrees Fahrenheit).

Oh, and by the way, these batteries powering the supposedly "Environmentally Friendly",
"Green", electric cars, are highly toxic and difficult to dispose of safely, without adversely affecting the environment.

Related video: For those who may be interested, here is a the original format of "The Universe of Energy" at Epcot:

Other related: Car Safety Report: Bigger Is Better.

Posted by Hyscience at June 13, 2011 3:09 PM

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