Are electric cars powered by coal-based electricity any benefit?

Discussion in 'Off Topic Chat' started by larry909, Dec 9, 2017.

  1. larry909

    larry909 TPF Noob!

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    Are there any viable alternative fuel sources other than (dirty) coal, that would make electric cars really that much cleaner?

    Heard a report that countries around the world are setting deadlines when all cars on the road have to be electric, or at least a big percentage of the cars.

    But is that a smart idea, considering that most of electricity is coal-based? Unless we go nuclear.

    (I'm imagining that it's much worse to have coal-powered-electrically-charged cars than regular fuel, because the coal toxins are released into the air in the United States which makes it a local pollutant as opposed to the oil coming from somewhere else. And the cars themselves have probably cleaner Mufflers than the coal manufacturers in the United States. Is that right?)


     
  2. weepete

    weepete TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Electric cars have their issues. TBH I'm much more concerned about how this kind of policy is implemented. Industry wise there are a few things, for example the electricity does not have to come from coal, it could be hydroelectric, nuclear or from other renewables. The petrochemicals involved in the manufacture of electric cars needs looked in detail. Environmentalists like to tout about carbon neutral, but that's no use if, for an exteme hypothetical example, we change to a source that outputs sulphur.
    Or if we fill our oceans with plastic (already happening) it'll be all freaking pointless anyway. Really need to look at the whole lifecycle.

    Then there are implementation issues, for exaple if the government really wanted a switch to electric they need to not only provide a widely avalible fuel source that's easy to access and readily available but need to adrees cost. ATM electric cars are more expensive than regular fuel.If they were cheaper to buy and run than ordinary fuel most people would switch.
     
  3. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Yes, electric vehicles ultimately deliver cleaner air. It is much much easier to eliminate pollutants from a single stationary point source (power plant) than from thousands of mobile pollution sources.
     
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  4. Fred von den Berg

    Fred von den Berg No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This assumes an either or situation based on fossil fuel or atomic power but there is another way possible: renewable energy. If enough electricity could be generated by, say, wind farms or solar power or by tapping in to the energy available in the motion of the oceans, then e-vehicles would be relatively clean.

    However, many reports suggest that making electric vehicles needs approximately seven times fewer workers than Diesel production, so there are going to be some difficult social challenges to solve on the road ahead. For me, mainstream manufacture of electric vehicles belongs to a world where automation, globalization and digitalization make it necessary to have new socio-economic models in place. Experiments are already being conducted in Europe regarding the idea of universal income:Is Finland’s basic universal income a solution to automation, fewer jobs and lower wages?
     
  5. Destin

    Destin Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It depends.

    My personal opinion is that we aren't really there yet with battery and recharging technology. Give it a decade and you'll see crazy advances in these departments.

    Ultimately for me, living in a rural area and doing a lot of road trips, they'd need to be able to give me a 600+ mile range with quick recharging before I'd even be potentially interested in one.. and we're some time from that reality. With a gas car and I can easily cover 1000 miles in a day and I do so semi-regularly. Electric cars don't have the range and recharging takes too long for this to be feasible.

    For those who live in an urban/suburban area and rarely venture outside of a 100 mile circle, it's probably a great idea. And that's the majority of the world's population.
     
  6. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    A said its easier to control pollution from a handful of sources than it is to control countless sources. Not only can you control it easier but you can regulate it easier as well; consider how many cars are travelling around in a poor state of repair and thus might not be fully compliant with current emission guidelines.

    The other aspect is that removing pollutants from cars isn't just about global pollution but more about local pollution in built up urban areas. Long term effects of car emissions in close contact with people on a daily basis is likely a bigger pusher for electric cars than is the world pollution levels; esp when you consider the vast amounts put out by aircraft and other major sources (though they too are slowly being regulated).


    My view is that, honestly, we shouldn't need cars in a big urban areas anyway. Public transport should have been setup to allow for easy transport around most built up areas; with satellite carparks allowing travellers coming in to park their cars and take a nice clean electric bus/train in; whilst also allowing those in the town to then collect their car and travel out.
    Sadly we've built a car culture over the last 50-60 years to the point where a car is one of those things most people (outside of huge urban areas like london) not only expect to own, but often as not, are required to own to get around.
     
  7. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    There's still more that can be done to the modern combustion engine that would help or even curtail pollution. My new diesel is a marvel of clean burn technology. With just over 10k on the odometer the tailpipe is still so clean that it could pass the white glove test, unlike previous black, belching models.

    Intercity delivery trucks that do a lot of stop and go are already making use of hybrid technology that uses a combination of regenerative electric assist and a smaller internal combustion engine.

    The problem with electric cars has always been the range and charge time, but Honda is working on a model that would fully recharge in 15 mins, and I heard this the other day on the news. Fisker patents car battery with 500-mile range on a minute’s charge The problem I see developing is what happens to the old batteries? Are we going to have stacks of highly toxic used batteries setting around with no where to dispose of, or will they be able to successfully and cleanly recycle everything.

    Being tested in select cities are driverless electric vehicles that use a nesting approach. You place your order for vehicle via smart phone. An automated system bills your credit card and dispatches the vehicle from the closest nest. When completed it returns to the closest nest for charging, cleaning and inspection.
     
  8. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    A nested electric automatic car system could easily work in urban areas; though I'd say it would only really work well if you removed the bulk of manual driven cars; or restricted them to only select roadways.

    Also diesel is heading out faster than petrol based on new studies that show its even more harmful to human health than petrol emissions.
     
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  9. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Possibly in passenger vehicles, but I doubt you'll see it in large trucks, even if they go to a hybrid configuration. The diesel's higher torque at lower RPMs is far superior to a gas engine, and the modern pollution control with DEF does an excellent job.
     
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  10. SCraig

    SCraig Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The math is not that difficult. If you have a 30 KWH hour battery that is completely depleted then you have to put roughly 115% of the capacity back into it. 30 KWH = 30,000 watts for an hour and since watts = amps x volts then at 120 volts you would have to charge the battery at approximately 287.5 amps for an hour. At 480 volt, 3-phase you would have to charge it at about 37.7 amps for an hour (assuming a 90% power factor in converting volt amps to watts). To charge it in a minute at 480v, 3-phase (also assuming 90% power factor) you would have to supply roughly 2,260 amps. Not many places have a 480v, 3-phase, 3,000 amp service and I don't foresee many installing one in the near future just to charge electric vehicles. Higher voltages will yield lower ampacities for a given charge time however the National Electric Code has a lot so say about installations of any type, and even more when at 600 volts and above.

    But personally I really wish more people would drive electric vehicles. I look forward to the day when the vast majority of people are doing so. It will eliminate any concerns about gas shortages for those who have no use for them.
     
  11. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I have seriously been looking at an electric vehicle for some time. That Californian car maker seems to have the most advanced/useful car around, but it is also one of the most expensive. I think I could manage my long trips and daily driving routines using the specs from a Tesla, but they're just so dang expensive. The Model 3 is significantly cheaper than the other models, but the 3's sold out within a week or so of after announced.
     
  12. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Where there is demand you will find access. 5 years ago, I would not expect to pull into a restaurant parking lot and see a couple of charging stations for electric vehicles. Now it's not that uncommon especially in high traffic areas. Pull in, plug in, swipe your credit card and charge your vehicle while you eat.
     

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