EV Bashing in Forbes  

 

   


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Sunday August 27, 2017 EV Bashing in Forbes Last week Forbes published an article by Steve Pociasky entitled "Electric Vehicle Goal Ignore Some Scientific Facts And Statistics".  This article is another of those articles that tries to tell us that electric cars cause just as much pollution over the life cycle of the car as a regular gas powered car - something which has already been shown to be untrue multiple times. 

 

Mr. Pociasy is the president of The American Consumer Institute which calls itself a "free market think tank"  It is set up so that donations are fully tax deductible but I haven't been able to find out anything about who their donors are but given the right wing nature of the ACI I suspect the usual group who are more than likely heavily involved in the fossil fuel industry.

 

While the article's title talks about "scientific facts and statistics"  the article is actually pretty much devoid of any real scientific evidence.  For his sources of scientific evidence he relies mostly on the output from a number of right wing think tanks along with an article in Scientific American.  Some of the stuff he comes up with here is just plain wrong.

 

For example he uses the old red herring that the addition of electric vehicles has increased reliance on coal when in fact the amount of electricity generated by coal has been dropping for the last few years here in the US.  He also talks about the decision in France to go all electric by 2040 as being a bad decision.  If we follow his logic, moving to electric vehicles is going to mean France will become more reliant on coal so the EVs will get dirtier.  The problem is that France only has 3 sets of generators that are fired by coal for a total or around 1.5 gigawatts of capacity.  France currently produces around 79% of its electricity from Nuclear and that percentage has been dropping as capacity is replaced with renewables.

 

France is actually an interesting case.  One of the big problems that face Nuclear is that the reactors can't just be turned off when demand is low.  What you have to do is bleed off the steam they produce instead of feeding it to the turbines.  Now since demand is much lower overnight, having a vast set of electric cars sucking up the energy that would normally be thrown away is a big win for the power generation company.  Even if they charge a low price for the electricity, it's still better than nothing.  Coal power plants have a similar situation, you can't restart them quickly enough to shut them off during low demand they are keep running at a much lower efficiency.  In these cases the net amount of pollution attributable to the EV is actually lower when it is using energy that would normally be thrown away because of lack of demand.

 

Another inaccuracy concerns Lithium which in the article is called a rare metal which has to be mined producing lots of toxic waste.  Most lithium is produced in Chile and Argentina and is actually derived from solar evaporation of brines in salt lakes.  It is the 14th most common element on earth and apart from being used in batteries it has a number of other uses including being used in a drug to treat bipolar disorder.  The big issue at the moment is that good recycling methods have not been set up yet as most lithium batteries from EVs are reused rather than recycled.

 

The article also cites a study by J.D. Little that in 2050 fossil fuels will still account for 79% for our energy requirements.  I don't think this is very probable, here in Southern California Edison territory fossil fuels only account for 60% of  our power mix and that number is shrinking as more solar is rolled out.  I can't see the rest of the country not following in the next 33 years.

 

The whole article appears to be pushing toward elimination of EV incentives so I  will leave you to ponder this question, Why do all these conservative think tanks want to stop incentives for electric vehicle but don't say anything about the billions of dollars in subsidies handed out to the fossil fuel industry?

 

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