Crock: Electric Cars
Powerline Picnic: in everyone's backyard if everyone drives an electric car. This free website's biggest source of support is when you use any of these links when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thanks! Ken.
Electric cars are a crock. I've been too polite to share, but since a reader asked, there are some huge practical and environmental problems if everyone started doing the wrong thing and driving electric cars. This whole thing is sponsored by companies that stand to make billions if people started buying these things.
Strangely, very little has changed since 1902 when the gasoline versus electric car debate was a lot hotter. Back in 1902, electric cars were much quieter, but had limited range and long charge times. Not much has changed between the two, but the ramifications of what would happen if large numbers of people started driving these things is far more severe than it was in 1902 simply because today, there are more cars in America than there are people. In 1902, there were more yachts than cars.
The big gotcha that most non-electronic engineers don't realize is that electric cars consume huge amounts of electric power. One electric car consumes as much power in typical operation as four homes! Why do you think they need special electrical hook-ups and take forever to charge? You don't just plug them in the wall like an alarm clock. Why do you think the batteries fill up half the trunk? All the power to charge these things has to come from somewhere; it's not like charging the little battery in your digital camera.
Here's the big problem: If we all got electric cars, we'd need four times as many new electric power plants, and four times as many transmission towers to get that power to our homes! Imagine a landscape cluttered with power lines; how else will we get four times as much electric power at home or at work to charge all these things? These aren't just golf carts.
It's ironic that the same people who worry about replacing real bulbs with carcinogenic CFL bulbs loaded with mercury, lead, EMI and EMF just to save five watts are the same ones misled to think that an electric car that charges at 10,000 watts overnight on 440V three-phase power is saving energy.
Each horsepower requires about 745 watts, but only if the car is 100% efficient, which they are not. It will need a lot more power for each horsepower in practice, and most small cars can make a maximum of at least 150 HP today. Wimpy electric cars might make do with just 20 HP maximum, or 10 HP for cruising at 55 MPH, still needing 15,000 watts to make just that!
When you ignore all the free subsidies handed out like cocaine to get people hooked, electric cars need to burn about four times as much to fuel at a power plant compared to burning it directly in your car.
Speaking of free subsidies, for just how long do you expect to find free chargers? Diesel cars are great for fuel economy, but most normal people freak out from driving Diesels because only 50% of filling stations carry Diesel fuel. How could you go anywhere if only one station in 100 had a charger, and then what would you do for 4 hours while you topped-off? You still need a real car for travel.
75% of the heat energy of combustion is wasted converting heat to spinning motion in a power plant, converting that motion to electricity, transmitting it to your home, using it to charge a battery, and converting it back again to motion in your car, all with more heat losses over simply burning the same fuel in your car to make that motion directly.
Yes, power plants burn much lower grades of oil and/or clean, safe nuclear power, but we still would need about four times as much energy at a power plant to get the same "go" in our car as just burning the fuel in our own cars in the first place — and those 500 kV powerline towers are going to have to go in someone's backyard.
Electric cars are just another way to get some people richer, using everyone else's money. Technically, all electric cars do is move pollution from your car back to a power plant, and more of it, too.
When a normal car is junked, the most poisonous thing is its little battery. When an electric car is junked, it's a huge cesspool of lead, lithium, mercury, and a smorgasbord of poisonous heavy metals from its huge batteries, in addition to all the regular items from normal cars. Let's not even consider the expense and environmental considerations involved in manufacturing and transporting all those batteries from China to make an electric car in the first place.
Most folks outside the petroleum business don't even realize how much of our fuels are local. In California they don't even burn middle-east oil: 75% of California's oil is pumped right out of the ground from California's central valley and coast. Middle-east oil is consumed on the East coast, not trucked across the country.
Repressive governments love electric cars, because as soon as power is cut during an uprising, no one can recharge their cars that night until the civil unrest subsides and government chooses to restore power.
This said, many people who own Nissan Leafs wrote to me and tell me how much they LOVE them! I've never tried one. If you want a real electric car, forget the wimpy imported ones and see these guys who know real electric cars.
Of course we haven't even discussed heaters and air conditioners. Air conditioners also use a lot of power, but heating is free with a normal car because the engine gives off so much heat. In an electric car, you have to burn a lot of extra battery power to make heat, and none of it can be regenerated. Why do you see electric cars rolled-out in Southern California? Because we never use out heaters! Forget electric cars for places that get cold enough to need heaters — just as you'd use a golf cart. An electric car needs about as much extra energy to run the heater as it does to run its electric motor. Oh well!
About the author
Kenneth R. Rockwell is an electrical engineer, holding a B. S. E. E. degree, awarded with honors, from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Mr. Rockwell currently holds two United States patents.
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