Seeking Alpha anti-EV article rebuttal

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Seeking Alpha anti-EV article rebuttal

Nathan Abbott
Dude was misinformed as to energy consumption & opportunity cost, so I did my best to set him straight...

--------------------------

Actually, this is what I initially thought, as well, however, it boils down to thermal efficiency (for now). Here's why EV's are more energy efficient than ICE's:: Thermal efficiency:

An ICE (internal combustion engine) has a thermal efficiency of around 20% for gas, 30% for diesel.

An electric motor, on the other hand, has a thermal efficiency of 95%, or more than 4x more efficient than a Honda.

Now, let's suppose all electricity plants burned gasoline. While there are losses in power transmission, storage, etc., a gallon of gas would propel an EV 3-4 times further than a Honda (of equivalent weight & drag coefficient). Now who would be against a 300-400% improvement? Rhetorical question.

Now, not counting states producing more than their share of clean energy (Oregon?), we would have to concede that, in general, technology advances. It doesn't roll back.  With that in mind, with highways full of EV's, we've now centralized energy production (removed it from a few million engenes), so we've made it easier to apply the inevitable future advancements in non-toxic energy technology, while reducing civilization's categorical energy requirements.

Oil & gas are stored energy, are they not?

Cheers,
Nathan Abbott

 http://www.wired.com/autopia/2009/11/the-short-strange-trip-of-nathan-abbott-a-cautionary-tale/


Sent from my iPad

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Re: Seeking Alpha anti-EV article rebuttal

Ken Fry
I have rearranged my evdl subscription, so I hope I am not double posting this:

In looking over a few Peterson articles, I did not see any glaring "clear factual errors".  
His article on carbon emissions of PHEVs vs HEVs used what is essentially the same chart that Rocky Mountain Institute has used to promote EVs.  HEVs and EVs can be about the same in CO2 emissions, depending upon specific vehicle selection.  For example, the Prius and the Toyota RAV4 EV cause the same amount of CO2 to be generated (3.7 tons per year for the Prius, 3.8 for the RAV4 EV, per EPA tests), if the RAV4 is plugged into the "average US" grid.

A better comparison is a more direct model-for-model comparison, such as the gas and electric versions of the 2002 RAV4:  7.8 tons for the gas version, 3.8 for the electric.  Compared to conventional cars, EVs are substantially better in this respect.  Compared to the best hybrids (such as the Prius which gets twice the mileage of a conventional car, and therefore emits half the CO2), they are on par.  Although Peterson does not make the comparison to conventional vehicles, the chart does.   He correctly states that more carbon is generated at night (because more coal is used in base-load generating).  He uses a lot of hyperbole, especially in his concluding remarks.    
     
If there are particular statements that appear to be incorrect, please bring them to my attention.  His interpretations seem slanted toward HEVs (I assume because he has a large stake in Axion Power, whose batteries might be applied to HEVs but not EVs, because they are too heavy).  But I have not seen clear factual errors.
 

Think Big.
Drive Small.  
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Re: Seeking Alpha anti-EV article rebuttal

Ken Fry
In reply to this post by Nathan Abbott
Hi Nathan,

I didn't follow your math.  

As you are no doubt aware, the grid is inefficient.  The GREET tables published by Argonne National Lab put the average generating efficiency at 38% (well-to-plug, weighted average of all sources).  So in your example (gasoline-fueled power plant) roughly 38% of the gasoline energy value would arrive at your plug.  85% of that would make it into your batteries.  Controller efficiency is 98% and motor efficiency can be as high as 90%  (although, in fact, motors have efficiency curves too -- the motor in my EV rarely gets up to 88%, and in slow traffic can be 50% -60%).  An EV can do with a single speed (98% instead of 96% for ICE), so at the drive shaft, 27.9% of the energy remains.

For an ICE, efficiency varies dramatically with load, and engine design. (The Prius engine is 37% efficient at peak, and it runs under heavier load than typical.  This is good for efficiency, as is the fact that it spends no time idling.)  Gasoline is delivered well-to-pump at 82% efficiency, and it might be reasonable to include this loss, because the 38% figure above includes well-to-powerplant losses.  In actual operation, the Prius engine is about 25% efficient.  Its transmission needs more reduction stages, so is about 96% efficient.  So, at the drive shaft, 19.7% of the energy remains.  (That's about twice as good as a typical midsized car... the the PRius's very high fuel efficiency ratings.)  
 
But all this calculation can be avoided by just looking at the amount of carbon generated by electric vehicles and gasoline vehicles.  Those figures are available in the EPA fuel efficiency website.  You can compare the 2002 Toyota RAV4 EV and gas version, and find that the EV emits 1/2 the CO2.  The Prius, twice as fuel efficient as the gas RAV4, emits 1/2 as much too.  The LEAF is actually a little worse than either, because it is slightly less efficient that the RAV4 EV (and sadly, a bunch less efficient than the GM EV1).        

Given that the main fuels of interest for both generating electricity and fueling conventional cars are all carbon-based, The CO2 figure is good a measure of of both resource depletion and GHG emissions.

Regards, Ken

 
Think Big.
Drive Small.  
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Re: Seeking Alpha anti-EV article rebuttal

Dennis Miles
In reply to this post by Nathan Abbott
To quote your remark,"<<An ICE (internal combustion engine) has a thermal
efficiency of around 20% for gas, 30% for diesel.>>"
       I am sorry if I am confused, However as I recall, the apparent higher
efficiency of Diesel is due to Diesel Fuel actually having 20% more energy
content per gallon than Gasoline, not to the engine being more efficient at
full load, and only slightly more efficient at idle by using a very "Lean"
fuel mixture at idle.

Regards,
*Dennis Lee Miles*   (Director)     *E.V.T.I. inc*.
*www.E-V-T-I-Inc.COM <http://www.e-v-t-i-inc.com/>    *(Adviser)*
EVTI-EVAEducation Chapter
*
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The "Stone Age" didn't end because they ran out of Stones;
       It ended because they started using their Brains !
 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


On Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 7:31 PM, Nathan Abbott <
[hidden email]> wrote:

> Dude was misinformed as to energy consumption & opportunity cost, so I did
> my best to set him straight...
>
> --------------------------
>
> Actually, this is what I initially thought, as well, however, it boils down
> to thermal efficiency (for now). Here's why EV's are more energy efficient
> than ICE's:: Thermal efficiency:
>
>
>
> An electric motor, on the other hand, has a thermal efficiency of 95%, or
> more than 4x more efficient than a Honda.
>
> Now, let's suppose all electricity plants burned gasoline. While there are
> losses in power transmission, storage, etc., a gallon of gas would propel an
> EV 3-4 times further than a Honda (of equivalent weight & drag coefficient).
> Now who would be against a 300-400% improvement? Rhetorical question.
>
> Now, not counting states producing more than their share of clean energy
> (Oregon?), we would have to concede that, in general, technology advances.
> It doesn't roll back.  With that in mind, with highways full of EV's, we've
> now centralized energy production (removed it from a few million engenes),
> so we've made it easier to apply the inevitable future advancements in
> non-toxic energy technology, while reducing civilization's categorical
> energy requirements.
>
> Oil & gas are stored energy, are they not?
>
> Cheers,
> Nathan Abbott
>
>
> http://www.wired.com/autopia/2009/11/the-short-strange-trip-of-nathan-abbott-a-cautionary-tale/
>
>
> Sent from my iPad
>
> _______________________________________________
> | REPLYING: address your message to [hidden email] only.
> | Multiple-address or CCed messages may be rejected.
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Re: Seeking Alpha anti-EV article rebuttal

NeilBlanchard
In reply to this post by Ken Fry
Hello,

> I didn't follow your math.  
>
> As you are no doubt aware, the grid is inefficient.  The GREET tables
> published by Argonne National Lab put the average generating efficiency at
> 38% (well-to-plug, weighted average of all sources).  So in your example
> (gasoline-fueled power plant) roughly 38% of the gasoline energy value would
> arrive at your plug.  85% of that would make it into your batteries.
> Controller efficiency is 98% and motor efficiency can be as high as 90%
> (although, in fact, motors have efficiency curves too -- the motor in my EV
> rarely gets up to 88%, and in slow traffic can be 50% -60%).  An EV can do
> with a single speed (98% instead of 96% for ICE), so at the drive shaft,
> 27.9% of the energy remains.
>
> For an ICE, efficiency varies dramatically with load, and engine design.
> (The Prius engine is 37% efficient at peak, and it runs under heavier load
> than typical.  This is good for efficiency, as is the fact that it spends no
> time idling.)  Gasoline is delivered well-to-pump at 82% efficiency, and it
> might be reasonable to include this loss, because the 38% figure above
> includes well-to-powerplant losses.  In actual operation, the Prius engine
> is about 25% efficient.  Its transmission needs more reduction stages, so is
> about 96% efficient.  So, at the drive shaft, 19.7% of the energy remains.
> (That's about twice as good as a typical midsized car... the the PRius's
> very high fuel efficiency ratings.)  
>
> But all this calculation can be avoided by just looking at the amount of
> carbon generated by electric vehicles and gasoline vehicles.  Those figures
> are available in the EPA fuel efficiency website.  You can compare the 2002
> Toyota RAV4 EV and gas version, and find that the EV emits 1/2 the CO2.  The
> Prius, twice as fuel efficient as the gas RAV4, emits 1/2 as much too.  The
> LEAF is actually a little worse than either, because it is slightly less
> efficient that the RAV4 EV (and sadly, a bunch less efficient than the GM
> EV1).        
>
> Given that the main fuels of interest for both generating electricity and
> fueling conventional cars are all carbon-based, The CO2 figure is good a
> measure of of both resource depletion and GHG emissions.


The VERY large part of the full source-to-wheels calculations that you are leaving out, is the discovery, drilling, production, transportation, storage, refining, more storage and more transportation, etc., -- all of which are overhead to getting the gasoline in your tank.  What is fair for electricity, is fair for gasoline.  (We also do not need a military to defend our electricity supply chain.)

The TW4XP X-Prize vehicle had 85% plug-to-wheel efficiency.  Even the Prius is a third of this, at best, and typically only one quarter as efficient.  All the carbon footprint numbers I have seen are EV's use 1/2 the carbon at worst, and 1/5 the carbon at best.

Sincerely, Neil
http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/


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Re: Seeking Alpha anti-EV article rebuttal

Ken Fry
Hi Neil:
When making these comparisons, it is important to compare similar vehicles, and the perfect situation is when there is solid data for two versions of the same vehicle.  Both the 2002 RAV4 EV/gas and the 2002 Ford Explorer USPS EV/gas are good examples.  The GREET tables are very good in making such comparisons fairly (and were used for such purposes in the auto X Prize).  They take into account the full life cycle of the various transportation fuel possibilities.  It is truly an apples-to-apples comparison re fuels and the energy used to produce and deliver them*.  The EPA relies upon the GREET table for their analyses.  

The RAV 4 EV vs gas: 3.8 tons  vs 7.8 tons  (The EV emitts half the CO2)
The Explorer EV vs gas: 7.7 tons vs 11.6 tons (The EV emits two thirds the CO2)

The arbitrary calculations that result in anything far from this 50% to 66% range are unreliable in my view.    

Analyses based upon the "average" efficiencies of "the ICE" (vs average efficiencies of a particular power plant type) are prone to very large errors, because the installed efficiency varies dramatically: thus the Prius is twice as efficient as an Accord even though both are the same weight and have similar interior volume.  The Prius engine is inherently more efficient at its peak efficiency but also spends more time near its peak than the Accord does.  You cannot pick a single efficiency figure as being representative of "an ICE".

Peterson's point seems to be that the fair comparison is not model-to-model, but between likely alternatives.  That is not an unreasonable point of view.  The same people attracted to the LEAF are attracted to the Prius.  In that case, the two are on par in terms of overall resource usage, and carbon production.  The LEAF should have only slightly higher CO2 emissions than the RAV4 EV.  (His claim that the Prius is "simple" is anything but true, however.)
   
I have a prototype not unlike the TW4XP.  If I were competing for an efficiency prize, its plug-to-wheels efficiency would be about 85% also.  But in the real world, most chargers are less than 90% efficient, and many are only 85% efficient.  The Tesla motor is only 90% efficient at peak, and operates much of the time at lower efficiency than that.  So the neither the Tesla nor my prototype achieve 85% plug-to wheel efficiency.  Nor does a LEAF or a RAV4 EV.  A production version of the TW4XP would be unlikely to achieve 85% efficiency routinely.  

EVs have few opportunities for better driveline efficiency, because batteries (excluding lead acid), motors, and controllers are already at very high efficiency levels.  This fact is seen in the real world with the GM EV1 being far more efficient than the LEAF or the Tesla, or the Volt -- by virtue of its better aerodynamics and lower weight.  The old RAV 4 EV is more efficient than the LEAF,  (by 10%) because of the accumulation of subtle differences.  

So the huge range you report in efficiency comparisons (2:1 to 5:1) from various info sources are from errors in calculation or assumption, I think. (My prototype, a tiny three-wheeler, is 10 times as efficient as a large SUV... that's an unfair comparison.)  A given car type does not vary much from manufacturer to manufacturer (i.e. all the Accord class vehicles are nearly identical in fuel efficiency), and all the EVs are likewise nearly identical for given weight classes.  I think the Explorer and the RAV4 come close to defining the extremes, when care is taken to apply the same methodology to each.  As the LEAF illustrates, the very slight improvements in EV tech that have occurred in the last decade can be washed aside by other design considerations.    

To say that a Toyota RAV4 EV produces 1/2 the carbon of a standard RAV4 is saying a great deal, and there is consistent methodology and test data to back that up.  In the engineering world, where a 95% efficient motor can command a price double (or more) that of a 90% efficient one, a 2:1 difference in overall efficiency is stunning.  To say that an EV is 5 times as efficient (in overall resource consumption and GHG generation) comes across like snake oil sales, and is counter productive, I believe.  You recall, probably, when the LEAF was a 367 MPGe vehicle and when the Volt was a 230 MPGe vehicle.  These claims do not rest well with the rational portion of public, I think.        

(Sorry this is so long... if I had more time, I could make it shorter.)
     
Regards, Ken

* From the EPA site (http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.htm):  The estimates presented here are "full fuel-cycle estimates" and include the three major greenhouse gases emitted by motor vehicles: carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane. Full fuel-cycle estimates consider all steps in the use of a fuel, from production and refining to distribution and final use. Vehicle manufacture is excluded. (U.S. Department of Energy, GREET Model 1.8, Argonne National Laboratory)  
 


Neil Blanchard wrote
Hello,

The VERY large part of the full source-to-wheels calculations that you are leaving out, is the discovery, drilling, production, transportation, storage, refining, more storage and more transportation, etc., -- all of which are overhead to getting the gasoline in your tank.  What is fair for electricity, is fair for gasoline.  (We also do not need a military to defend our electricity supply chain.)

The TW4XP X-Prize vehicle had 85% plug-to-wheel efficiency.  Even the Prius is a third of this, at best, and typically only one quarter as efficient.  All the carbon footprint numbers I have seen are EV's use 1/2 the carbon at worst, and 1/5 the carbon at best.

Sincerely, Neil
http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/


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Think Big.
Drive Small.  
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Re: Seeking Alpha anti-EV article rebuttal

Cor van de Water
In reply to this post by Dennis Miles
Diesel is essentially always running WOT
(Wide Open Throttle) and determines the
fuel usage (power) by the amount injected
into the unrestricted air flow,
while an Otto (gas) engine uses the throttle
to restrict air flow, which means that part
of the energy in this type of ICE goes into
sucking air through that restriction
(throttle butterfly)
in addition to the difference in energy per
fuel *volume*.
 
Let's go back to EV discussions...

Cor van de Water
Director HW & Systems Architecture Group
Proxim Wireless Corporation http://www.proxim.com
Email: [hidden email]    Private: http://www.cvandewater.com
Skype: cor_van_de_water     IM: [hidden email]
Tel: +1 408 383 7626        VoIP: +31 20 3987567 FWD# 25925
Tel: +91 (040)23117400 x203 XoIP: +31877841130

-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On
Behalf Of Dennis Miles
Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 1:11 PM
To: Electric Vehicle Discussion List
Subject: Re: [EVDL] Seeking Alpha anti-EV article rebuttal

To quote your remark,"<<An ICE (internal combustion engine) has a
thermal efficiency of around 20% for gas, 30% for diesel.>>"
       I am sorry if I am confused, However as I recall, the apparent
higher efficiency of Diesel is due to Diesel Fuel actually having 20%
more energy content per gallon than Gasoline, not to the engine being
more efficient at full load, and only slightly more efficient at idle by
using a very "Lean"
fuel mixture at idle.

Regards,
*Dennis Lee Miles*   (Director)     *E.V.T.I. inc*.
*www.E-V-T-I-Inc.COM <http://www.e-v-t-i-inc.com/>    *(Adviser)*
EVTI-EVAEducation Chapter
*
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The "Stone Age" didn't end because they ran out of Stones;
       It ended because they started using their Brains !
 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


On Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 7:31 PM, Nathan Abbott <
[hidden email]> wrote:

> Dude was misinformed as to energy consumption & opportunity cost, so I

> did my best to set him straight...
>
> --------------------------
>
> Actually, this is what I initially thought, as well, however, it boils

> down to thermal efficiency (for now). Here's why EV's are more energy
> efficient than ICE's:: Thermal efficiency:
>
>
>
> An electric motor, on the other hand, has a thermal efficiency of 95%,

> or more than 4x more efficient than a Honda.
>
> Now, let's suppose all electricity plants burned gasoline. While there

> are losses in power transmission, storage, etc., a gallon of gas would

> propel an EV 3-4 times further than a Honda (of equivalent weight &
drag coefficient).
> Now who would be against a 300-400% improvement? Rhetorical question.
>
> Now, not counting states producing more than their share of clean
> energy (Oregon?), we would have to concede that, in general,
technology advances.
> It doesn't roll back.  With that in mind, with highways full of EV's,
> we've now centralized energy production (removed it from a few million

> engenes), so we've made it easier to apply the inevitable future
> advancements in non-toxic energy technology, while reducing
> civilization's categorical energy requirements.
>
> Oil & gas are stored energy, are they not?
>
> Cheers,
> Nathan Abbott
>
>
> http://www.wired.com/autopia/2009/11/the-short-strange-trip-of-nathan-
> abbott-a-cautionary-tale/
>
>
> Sent from my iPad
>
> _______________________________________________
> | REPLYING: address your message to [hidden email] only.
> | Multiple-address or CCed messages may be rejected.
> | UNSUBSCRIBE: http://www.evdl.org/help/index.html#usub
> | OTHER HELP: http://evdl.org/help/
> | OPTIONS: http://lists.sjsu.edu/mailman/listinfo/ev
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Re: Seeking Alpha anti-EV article rebuttal

gtyler54
In reply to this post by Dennis Miles
Apart from the higher energy content of diesel fuel the efficiency of an
engine increases with compression ratio, and a diesel has typically around
20:1 compared to around 10:1 for spark ignition. This helps the full load
efficiency as well.
        However, most driving is not done at full load, in fact it is at
very light load, and this is where the diesel excels as one of the main
losses in an SI engine at part load is pumping loss due to sucking against a
closed throttle, you can prove this yourself if you have a car without a
steering lock, drive down a hill with your foot off the accelerator, then
turn the ignition off and watch it pick up speed, or you could if it was
legal and safe.
        The Prius reduces this by using an "Atkinson cycle" in which the
inlet valves are held open longer to reduce the vacuum.

-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf
Of Dennis Miles
Sent: Tuesday, 11 January 2011 8:41 p.m.
To: Electric Vehicle Discussion List
Subject: Re: [EVDL] Seeking Alpha anti-EV article rebuttal

To quote your remark,"<<An ICE (internal combustion engine) has a thermal
efficiency of around 20% for gas, 30% for diesel.>>"
       I am sorry if I am confused, However as I recall, the apparent higher
efficiency of Diesel is due to Diesel Fuel actually having 20% more energy
content per gallon than Gasoline, not to the engine being more efficient at
full load, and only slightly more efficient at idle by using a very "Lean"
fuel mixture at idle.

Regards,
*Dennis Lee Miles*   (Director)     *E.V.T.I. inc*.
*www.E-V-T-I-Inc.COM <http://www.e-v-t-i-inc.com/>    *(Adviser)*
EVTI-EVAEducation Chapter
*
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The "Stone Age" didn't end because they ran out of Stones;
       It ended because they started using their Brains !
 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


On Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 7:31 PM, Nathan Abbott <
[hidden email]> wrote:

> Dude was misinformed as to energy consumption & opportunity cost, so I did
> my best to set him straight...
>
> --------------------------
>
> Actually, this is what I initially thought, as well, however, it boils
down

> to thermal efficiency (for now). Here's why EV's are more energy efficient
> than ICE's:: Thermal efficiency:
>
>
>
> An electric motor, on the other hand, has a thermal efficiency of 95%, or
> more than 4x more efficient than a Honda.
>
> Now, let's suppose all electricity plants burned gasoline. While there are
> losses in power transmission, storage, etc., a gallon of gas would propel
an
> EV 3-4 times further than a Honda (of equivalent weight & drag
coefficient).
> Now who would be against a 300-400% improvement? Rhetorical question.
>
> Now, not counting states producing more than their share of clean energy
> (Oregon?), we would have to concede that, in general, technology advances.
> It doesn't roll back.  With that in mind, with highways full of EV's,
we've

> now centralized energy production (removed it from a few million engenes),
> so we've made it easier to apply the inevitable future advancements in
> non-toxic energy technology, while reducing civilization's categorical
> energy requirements.
>
> Oil & gas are stored energy, are they not?
>
> Cheers,
> Nathan Abbott
>
>
>
http://www.wired.com/autopia/2009/11/the-short-strange-trip-of-nathan-abbott
-a-cautionary-tale/

>
>
> Sent from my iPad
>
> _______________________________________________
> | REPLYING: address your message to [hidden email] only.
> | Multiple-address or CCed messages may be rejected.
> | UNSUBSCRIBE: http://www.evdl.org/help/index.html#usub
> | OTHER HELP: http://evdl.org/help/
> | OPTIONS: http://lists.sjsu.edu/mailman/listinfo/ev
>



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