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Electric Cars Are Cool

The 2012 Tesla Model S Fully Electric Luxury Sports Car
You may have heard about electric cars like the Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt in the news lately. Lets examine why there is such a buzz surrounding electric vehicles....

Electric Cars are Cool

A Win For National Security
Foreign oil is bad the for the US economy. Most industrialized countries are net oil importers. The use of foreign oil is bad for the economy of most of these nations as well. Electric cars from the likes of Tesla and Nissan are already on the roads today burning 0 foreign oil during their operation. EV owners save thousands of dollars per year that they would have otherwise wasted buying gasoline in conventional vehicles. That money is spent buying domestically produced grid power and EV batteries, bolstering revenue streams for our electric utilities and the advanced battery/ energy storage system sector. Money diverted from the gas pump and into the utilities is also diverted away from oil supplying countries that hate America: countries that sponsor human rights violations and terrorisms (OPEC et. al.)  Electric vehicles do not use petroleum to operate and thus the money spent fueling them does not go towards sponsoring nations that pose a national security hazard to other countries. The US government for example, spends hundreds of billions of dollars per year defending Canada with military services, so that Canada can reliably supply most of our imported oil.... Good for the Canadian Economy and US Defense contractors: bad for the US economy....

Protecting the Innocent from Vehicle Emissions Pollution
A Win For Public Health
Battery electric vehicles emit O tail pipe emissions. Even when they are plugged into grid sources that run on coal-fired capacity, they are still substantially cleaner than conventional vehicles. Remember the tail pipes of these huge power plants are often distant from where people live and work. This reduction in localized air pollution translates into lowered exposure to transportation emissions. Electric vehicles are safer because they do not emit tail pipe emissions near to where people live, work, exercise and play. The only emissions from an electric vehicle are produced upstream in its manufacturing (conventional vehicles have upstream manufacturing emissions too). Even where power plants do emit pollutants, it is far easier to clean and control the emissions of a few huge power plants than it is to keep the tail pipe emissions from millions of privately owned vehicles clean. An overall impact of electric vehicle use is improved air quality where they replace the use of a gas or diesel vehicles. This improved local air quality results in improved public health. 

The Natural World is Beautiful
A Win For the Environment
The entire oil industry is riddled with toxic emissions and negative environmental impacts. Drilling oil from the ground is a messy nightmare with a long history of huge spills and other mistakes. Pumping and transporting the oil is also dirty: the pipe-lines and storage tanks and tankers all leak either from corrosion or damage. Oil tankers that move oil burn heavy fuel oil, the dirtiest of all liquid fossil fuels currently used in transportation. The oil refining process is also a dirty emitter of toxics. An industry wide practice called flaring emits thousands of tones of extremely toxic air pollutants. Transport from the refineries to the retail points uses yet more dirty diesel fuel. Ironically, all of this upstream activity uses up to 8kWH of power per gallon produced. If we used the electric power wasted in the production of gas to charge electric vehicle we could get a lot more transportation energy value out of the electricity without all of the toxic emissions associated with petroleum production. Electric vehicles get to avoid interacting with this toxic global oil industry. The health of the environment from which life (food, water and air) comes from is thereby improved for every mile not driven in a petroleum powered vehicle. The use of electric vehicles therefor has a net beneficial impact on the environment.

BPA Wind Power Farm in Eastern Oregon 2008
The Grid Is Getting Greener
Increasingly grid power is moving away from dirty fossil fuel energy and towards clean sustainable energy sources like wind, solar and geothermal. Wind energy is making the greatest strides as the energy it produces has already reached price parity with the cheapest and dirtiest fossil fuel energy source, coal. Hydroelectric and Nuclear, two other sustainable energy sources provide a large portion of our grid power. Nuclear is sustainable in the sense that all of the nuclear fuel we currently throw away can be recycled with existing technology. When plugged into the grid, just like all other electrical devices, electric vehicles get energy from a mixture of clean sustainable and dirty unsustainable sources. In this way, the emissions of an electric vehicle are related to the local grid's power sources. Many places like WA State, derive the majority of their grid power from Hydro and Wind power... 

The 2011 Nissan Leaf Electric Car: The Most Popular EV
Electric Vehicles Gaining Consumer Acceptance
Tens of thousands of practical lithium battery electric vehicles are already in the hands of consumers who use them every day. Governments, Universities, dozens of huge companies like Google and hundreds of other NGO's and Institutions are already using electric vehicles every day. Electric vehicles are becoming more affordable and more accessible. Millions of passenger miles have already been driven in these electric vehicles and every major automaker is in the process of developing more battery electric vehicles and technology related to improving batteries, chargers and motor controllers. There is a lot of activity in the EV sector. Hundreds of thousands of people and tens of billions of private and public capital are being invested in the development of battery electric vehicles and EV charging infrastructure. 

The 2011 Chevy Volt: Range Extended Electric Vehicle
Battery Innovations on the Rise
The limiting technology in electric vehicles is in the battery. Fortunately a steady decline in the price of advanced vehicle batteries clicks on at about 9% per year while innovations in charge density, charging rate, power and energy density, cycle life and calendar life are improving the overall performance of these energy storing battery systems by approximately 9% per year. Industry analysts estimate that affordable battery electric vehicle will become accessible within the next few years. The Tesla Model S for example at ~$57K will soon compete directly against other luxury sedans at the same price point.  The Nissan Leaf already directly competes with other premium mid sized sedans at its ~$35k ish price point. There is a lot of upcoming innovation yet to be seen. Note, in the US, new EV purchases give their buyers a $7500 tax break (less money to the government and more money into the Job creative private sector)- the GOP should support this as it translates into less government and a stronger economy... 

The Grid Can Handle It
Scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory PNNL, have already repeatedly demonstrated that off peak night time grid energy is able to charge over 100 millions electric vehicles without making any significant changes to the existing grid systems. Up to 70% of the light duty passenger vehicles could be replaced by battery electric vehicles and charged with off peak grid power at night. Actually grid operators have a problem storing this off peak power. Much of this power is lost or wasted because we lack a feasible way to store it. Battery electric vehicle charging at night give utilities a market for this energy that would have otherwise been lost or wasted. In this way battery electric cars can actually help the grid function more efficiently. Most utilities have programs to work with their EV owning customers to setup the charge times to take advantage of cheaper off peak power: saving the EV owner even more money... and helping the Utility load balance off-peak production.... Furthermore advances in future V2G technology will allow a two way flow of energy into and out of grid connected battery electric vehicles that will function as load balancing for the grid operators: dramatically improving the quality of the power delivered by the grid (fewer voltage spikes, depressions : reduced reactive power loss : peak leveling : trimming enhancement, ect)....

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz-AMG-SLS E Fully Electric Sports Car
Electric Cars are Cool
I have ridden in and test driven several different battery electric vehicles and I can tell you there are seriously cool!  Electric motors have this wild instantaneous torque output that is fun. Don't believe me? Go to a Nissan dealer and test drive a Nissan Leaf and step all the way down on the accelerator: its not a sports car, but it will dust most conventional vehicles off the line without making any of the shuttering, vibration, noise or tail pipe pollution that a convention vehicle emits under full acceleration. Smooth, clean, nearly silent, torque abundant acceleration that will put a smile on your face! If you thought that was fun, go test drive a Tesla Roadster ^^ The upcoming model S from Tesla is also a performance beast that will smoke the other gas/ diesel power luxury sedans in its price segment! Cool! Actually the Tesla Model S when it launches will be the coolest car ever made in my humble opinion! Not only will it offer more utility/ storage volume, enhanced acceleration, enhance cabin acoustics, and improved UI functionality, the low hanging battery mass gives the model-S super flat cornering dynamics, and a skid-pad G-rating that gives the Lotus Elise a run for the money....  

The 2010 Fully Electric Venturi Fetish
More Good Things to Come :) Win Win Win
Tesla In Norway :) Snowy Electric Fun !
I support battery electric vehicles for many reasons. I laid out a few of these reasons above and hope that you can see why there is a buzz  surrounding electric vehicles after reading my post. Peace be with you and thank you for supporting battery electric transportation technology that is good for our economy, good for our environment and good for energy security ^^ the 3E tripple win of EV's ~ 

The 2010 Tesla Roaster Fully Electric Sports Car

Other Recent Innovations
IBM just announced their development of a lithium air battery technology that will be in prototype forms in 2013, and hopefully commercialized shortly thereafter. This new lithium air technology offers a %500 increase in power and energy density, effective increasing the range of a vehicle like the Nissan leaf to over 400 miles per charge.

BMW, Ford, GM, and others agree on new fast-charging standard for EVs

A number of automakers are debuting a new fast-charging standard this weekend which will recharge compatible electric vehicles in around 15-20 minutes. Audi, BMW, Chysler, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Porsche, and Volkswagen have agreed upon a single design for use in Europe and the United States. Designed by SAE International, the new port is an evolution of the AC-based J1772 port (also from SAE) found in the Ford Focus Electric, Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, and Tesla Roadster, among others, but also allows for charging over DC. The new AC / DC port will be compatible with the existing J1772 infrastructure, but the plan is to introduce ultra-fast DC charging at public stations on both sides of the Atlantic. : 


Electric Vehicles are Cool! 



  2. In the wake of last week's bruising hearing on Capitol Hill about the safety of the Chevrolet Volt, which itself followed an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that concluded plug-in vehicles do not "pose a greater risk of fire than gasoline-powered vehicles," former General Motors vice chairman Bob Lutz has written a column for Forbes that strikes back against the media (especially conservatives) who are attacking the car he thought would be one of his most important legacies.

    Politicians and members of the media on the right, from Mitt Romney to Neil Cavuto, have talked smack about the Volt, and Lutz says this "has attracted my attention and ire." In typical Lutz fashion, he doesn't mince words, writing:
    The Oscar for totally irresponsible journalism has to go to The O'Reilly Factor on Fox News, with, as its key guest, Lou Dobbs. Amid much jocular yukking, the Volt was depicted as a typical federal failure. ... Boiled down to the subtext, Dobbs' message was this: "All Volts catch fire, and therefore all Volts have been recalled." That simply isn't the case. ...

    To top it off, these two media pros lamented the fact that the same government that had forced GM to produce the Volt was now extending $7,500 tax credits towards its purchase, thus squandering even more of "our taxpayer" dollars on this failed Socialist-collectivist flop. Truth? The $7,500 tax credit was enacted under the Bush administration!

    Don't let Lutz's words make you think he's taking a left/liberal stance. He's still a self-declared "conservative Republican" who hates that right-wing talking heads are spiraling downward into this sort of "deliberate misstatement of facts." They "have managed to make me embarrassed to describe myself as a conservative," he writes, adding, "Let's leave the 'invention of facts' to the left-wing climate-change alarmists." There, that should offend pretty much everyone who's not in the dead political center.
    News Source: Forbes


    Cool Tesla S video :)


  5. Hey I really enjoyed your article, all I would say is be more specific and provide evidence to back your claims. Sometimes in the post your comments like on national security felt too general.

    Also you do know that EV battery tech is super toxic and battery production plants totally destroy the environment around them?

    Despite all of this, great write up and I hope to one day afford an EV

    1. The batteries are 100% recyclable!

      Lithium battery production is far less toxic than that of NiCD and NiMH : Nickel mining is the issue with those, and cadmium in the case of the former.

      Do you know much about battery chemistry or recycling?

      Evidence about national security? LOL : the economic effects that importing oil has on our economy is the national security problem: we will not be able to afford to defend ourselves if we send away all of our wealth to import oil.

      The price of EV's will continue to fall. The Nissan Leaf is already affordable: and many are available in the secondary market at greatly discounted prices as used cars now :)

  6. Starting with a 300mile range battery :) as the battery degrades with calender life and cycling, the range will shorten over time. It will take a long time both in terms of years and cycles for the 300mile battery in the Model S to degrade to 100 miles range: and that range is perfectly usable for most people most of the time :)

    Consider also that battery technology will continue to improve :)
    1. The cost of automotive rechargeable traction batteries will decrease steadily at about 9% for the next decade :)
    2. The cycle life, energy density, and power density will improve at about %9 per year for the next decade :)

    Many of the components needed for electric vehicles will also become less expensive and more accessible. Rare-earth free motor designs will likely prove pivotal!

    The motor-controllers, charge controllers, battery management systems: all of the components used in electric vehicles will be refined and improved :)

    New (more efficient) HVAC systems will boost range further in electric vehicles. Even something as simple as choosing black paint in a colder climate and white paint in a hot climate can boost a vehicles net overall energy efficiency.

    More efficient tires will allow future EV's to go farther. Better aero-dynamics will also yield greater range. Reduced mass will improve performance while also improving range.

    So much more goodness still to come :) the future of Tesla looks LED bright :)

    1. In reference to the Tesla Model S with the large battery range option :)

  7. Yeah I totally agree that the electric cars are cool and they are very popular nowadays. I also would be buying an EV for my wife as she has knee problem and can’t use public transport now. I just found a useful Electric car buyers guide and it is very helpful for me.