Plug In America: California Created Giant Loophole in New Electric Car Rule

By · January 30, 2012

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Plug In America says CARB chairwoman Mary Nichols would not allow discussion of a loophole in its new zero-emissions rules.

Many environmentalists and electric car fans cheered last week when California adopted new rules that require 15 percent of all cars sold in the state to be electric, plug-in hybrid, or hydrogen-powered by 2025. Even automakers were onboard. But the devil is in the details, and some plug-in car advocates believe the California Air Resources Board simultaneously engineered a positive spin on the rules—while creating a giant loophole allowing more modest gains in electric car adoption.

“Unfortunately, the California Air Resources Board, and particularly CARB chairwoman Mary Nichols controlled the spin battle on this one,” said Jay Friedland, legislative director for Plug In America, an electric car advocacy group. Friedland is referring to a so-called “greenhouse gas overcompliance provision,” which allows automakers to only produce about half the number of required pure electric cars it needs to produce between 2018 and 2021 under the new rule—in exchange for reducing the carbon emissions from its entire fleet by 2-gram-per-mile beyond targets.

“Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota are once again trying to game the system,” said Friedland. “CARB has let them off the hook just we see the great progress being made by Nissan, GM, Ford, Mitsubishi, Tesla, Coda, and other automakers truly committed to building a sustainable business around electric vehicles. The GHG overcompliance provision is a bad deal for California and for the United States."

Meanwhile, the oil industry, automakers and some environmentalists—strange bedfellows—praised the ruling. “The most heartening aspect of this process is how far we’ve come. The level of consensus is the highest I’ve ever seen,” said Cathy Reheis-Boyd of Western States Petroleum Association, in an interview with Christian Science Monitor. Auto companies “have seen the handwriting on the wall," she said. "This really is a whole new chapter with the car in California, the US, and across the globe.”

“This is a very powerful and history-making moment in which California is pushing the US and the world toward pollution-free cars,” said Vickie Patton, general counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund. “It’s a trifecta for America’s economy, competitiveness and security that depletes our dependence on foreign oil, protects human health, and saves families money during a devastating economic downturn.”

No Discussion Allowed

Plug In America, the most vocal group focusing on the loophole, accused CARB of railroading it through. “Mary Nichols would not even allow a vote by the Board on the GHG Overcompliance provision. Several Board members had asked for at least consideration of moving from 2-grams-per-mile to 5-grams-per-mile, but Ms. Nichols dismissed the issue and indicated she would not even consider it,” said Friedland of Plug In America, which represents the interests of rank-and-file electric car owners. “This will result in a gaping loophole, which will cause the loss of hundreds of thousands of plug-in cars in California.”

A number of environmental organizations, including the Union of Concerned Scientists, Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club, had objections to the overcompliance provision. EV-producing automakers, including Tesla, General Motors and Ford, also expressed concern.

Most media and bloggers highlighted the 1.4 million potential number of electric cars by 2025—in California and other states that follow California's emission rules. However, for carmakers using the overcompliance loophole, that number could collectively be reduced by 400,000 to 500,000 between 2018 and 2021. “CARB is trying to have their cake and eat it too, by claiming the big number and waiving off the loophole as something carmakers won't take advantage of,” said Friedland. “It's also unfortunate that we have history on our side and CARB has consistently reduced goals over time, so I expect this to get watered down even more.” CARB is considered one of the culprits in the killing of the previous generation of electric cars, such as the EV1. The agency is also accused in 2008 of spinning that year’s version of the ever-changing Zero Emissions Vehicle requirements as a three-fold increase, which in reality decreased the requirements by 70 percent.

According to Plug In America, EV drivers and fans will have to wait another three years until the next CARB review to have input again.

Comments

· AnonymousLad (not verified) · 2 years ago

Now I would like to see the fed gov cancel the oil subsides that keep the true high cost of oil hidden. This move along with a gentle shove from CARB could make even short-distance BEVs highly desirable. The effect of the loop hole is to move slower into the future without crashing the car companies. Right now the first generation batteries are not up to the demands of the public. They are too expensive, too heavy and don't store enough energy to be driven like U.S. drivers are use to driving their ICE cars. In fact the Tesla claim of a 160 mile car is based on a speed of 55mph not at 65 mph, which is the normal freeway speed limit.

Perhaps the next generation BEV battery will improve mileage enough to appeal to "The Great Unwashed."

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

What subsidies?

· · 2 years ago

Don't forget the $100 million to build 100 hydrogen fueling stations. Friedland was quoted in the SF Chronicle as saying, "This is for cars that aren't built yet,". Sorry Friedland, this is simply not true. Schwartzenegger has that Hummer. Now he will have 100 places to fill up. My question is this, will each of these stations come with other services like, can you buy a Snickers or something? And what poor soul will staff these lonely hydrogen fueling stations for the next 50 years?

Also, what if the $100 million went to increase the EV rebate instead? I'm thinking you could up the CA rebate back to $5k a car with this for 40,000 cars. :)

· · 2 years ago

I guess the other elephant in the room, when did I vote for Mary Nichols to allocate $100 million of my tax money? Well, ~$6-7 probably more exactly. hehe

· jim1961 (not verified) · 2 years ago

I don't understand why anyone would be against the reduction of greenhouse gases. I'm a lifelong car nut and electrical engineer. There are few people who are more fascinated with EVs than I am but I can't understand EV fanatics who believe EVs have some kind of magical quality. If there is a form of personal transportation that drastically reduces pollution I don't care if it runs on pig shit.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

Why not just levy a $1 per gallon gas tax in California? That's what you're saying you want, right? Then electric cars could be sold without a subsidy, and if they don't sell, just raise the gas tax $1 at a time until they do? It could help with that state budget deficit, too. Do you think you can get a policy setting majority in California to agree on that? Because you are taking one beat around the bush path to doing the same exact thing.

· · 2 years ago

http://www.arb.ca.gov/board/about.htm
According to this page, I probably didn't vote for her.

In their defense though, the resume looks glowing:
http://www.arb.ca.gov/board/bio/marynichols.htm

It's important to note though that each $40k that goes to a Leaf/Volt, is a whole lot of money that didn't go to hydrogen. Only 2,500 of these cars makes up for all the money that might have gone in the wrong direction. And these 2,500 cars have already been sold in California without any progress from CARB whatsoever. Hence the giant loophole here already existed before. The only change was that CARB blew $100 million of their $860 million on some more vacant hydrogen stations.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

What's the matter with hydrogen? It doesn't produce any tailpipe emmisions, and doesn't depend on oil. So it's expensive, so what? Just subsidize it. We subsidize electric, right? And that's fair because of all of those rumored subsidies to big oil, not to mention all of those hidden costs. (By definition, there are hidden costs to every technology, after all how could you know they aren't there? They're hidden!) How can you be so hypocritical as to advocate throwing money away on electric cars to make them sell more than the market bears and refuse to extend the same benefit to hydrogen? How do you know your not betting on the wrong horse?

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

Oops, that question was for you, tterbo.

· · 2 years ago

@Anonymous "What's the matter with hydrogen?"

It's an energy intermediary with near zero infrastructure support. The most common way to manufacture it is with natural gas (releasing CO2 in the process). By the time you've gotten it into a car you'd have been better off, energy- and emissions-wise, just burning the natural gas to make electricity for an EV or compressing it for use in CNG vehicles.

Hydrogen has a MUCH farther road to travel than EVs in terms of required technical development, infrastructure build out, and cost reduction. And at the end of that road you have a larger energy demand to satisfy thanks to the relative inefficiencies with hydrogen production and distribution. It can be done, but I don't think it should be given priority if you honestly care about the underlying issues.

· · 2 years ago

I think OEMs will produce EVs to survive - irrespective of CARB shenanigans.

This loophole feels like a backroom deal. OEMs are supporting this knowing the loophole exists. Wonder whether Mary Nichols has any political ambitions ...

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

Smidge204: Many have offered the same sorts of criticisms on electric vs. high efficiency gas cars. Electricity is only an energy intermediary without much infrastructure support. (Everybody keeps saying we need to build more charging stations.) The most common ways to manufacture it are by burning coal or natural gas, releasing CO2 in the process. By the time you get into the car you've used about 10,400 BTU's per kWh in production, lost about 7% in distribution, another 15% on top of that in charger inefficiency coupled with battery charge/discharge inefficiency, which brings the necessary energy to about 13,150 BTU's per kWh, and then the controller/motor efficiency is less than perfect, maybe 90% at best even with regenerative braking, so that's about 14,600 BTU's per kWh, on which a Leaf might go about 3 miles, so over 4,800 BTU's per mile. A high mileage car like say 40 mpg might have to use oil, but only burns 2,875 BTU's per mile from the gas tank, and petroleum production, refining, and distribution analysts have published energy costs from 10% to 20% in getting it to the car's gas tank, so the high number for energy comes to just under 3,600 BTU's per mile. And, the gas car, costing less to manufacture, likely consumed less energy in the making. Are you sure that electric cars as they are being produced today are the best route?

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

Oops. Incorrect to continue through to the car's electric motor/controller. Leaf gets about 3 miles per kWh of rated battery capacity, which takes about 13,150 BTU's to produce in America (grid average for the last several years, so this is the average across all fuels, and therefore about 20% of it is nuclear, but about 45% is coal and 25% is natural gas which both emit carbon.) Anyway, that 13,150 BTU's got the electrity to be available to the cars motor/controller from the battery, and comes to about 4,383 BTU's of energy per mile. I'm still not seeing any clear advantage on energy consumption for electric cars, and that should surprise nobody, since the cars are still about the same size, as heavy, and use the same tires/roadway. They do have the advantage in not relying on oil, and not bringing so much exhaust into the crowded cities. Do you really think they use less energy, though?

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

Another Ooops. Grid average heat rate for thermal electriciy generating plant has been running about 10,400 BTU's per kWh. The number at point of use for the car's motor controller downstream of distribution, charging, and battery cycle losses is what I meant though, at 13,150 BTU's per kWh. I did fail to adjust this for hydro, and other less significant non-thermal generation, which would lower the thermal energy number a bit more, so that the final thermal fuel BTU per mile for the electric car getting 3 miles per kWh of rated battery capacity comes to about 3,945 BTU per mile. Now, if that kWh mileage is off, just ratio from the 3 kWh/mi I used. But remember, I used 40 mph for the gas car, and 20% losses in the gasoline supply line. There are gas cars with which I could get 50 or 60 mph, and these could likely be further improved upon. We're spending a lot of tax money on electric vehicle subsidies, charging network buildout, and subsidy to battery and car producers directly. We should look carefully into what we're getting for our money. Or perhaps not. We're only printing it right now. Actually paying technically isn't happening when we have a deficit every year. Food for thought.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

What's your thoughts?

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

Meh.... lotta handwaving by the last (3) posts that try to undermine EVs.

Sorry, but gas cars cannot compete (the DOE reports 20 kWh to refine a gallon of gas, with which my LEAF covers ~88miles), and fails to mention that electricity can be generated more cleanly and domestically than oil/CNG/hydrogen.

Last time I looked, we already have a electrical distribution system in every house in the country...

· · 2 years ago

So, in the past CARB could say, "that vehicle doesn't meet CA emissions, it's can't be registered in CA" or "That generator isn't CARB compliant, it can't be sold in CA". CARB had, and still has, a hammer. Is there any hammer in this new policy? What if the OEMs make these EVs, but it turns out they're ugly, unreliable, and/or too expensive, and they don't achieve their sales targets? What happens then?

They way to do this is through the annual vehicle registration fees. Vehicles which meet or exceed the metrics get cheap/free/negative (rebates) on their annual registration. Those that exceed the metrics have to pay much more, on a nonlinear scale, for their annual registrations. Those that exceed the max, can't be registered. It's that simple.

· · 2 years ago

@indyflick · "What happens then?"

OEM pays a fine.

· jim1961 (not verified) · 2 years ago

I'm going to jump into the EV vs. hybrid greenhouse gas argument. The EPA has a greenhouse gas calculator for EVs that takes into account the type of electrical energy source in your area. Just enter your zip code and EV model and you will get greenhouse gas emissions. http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/label/calculator.jsp

The EPA also gives greenhouse gas emissions for petrol powered cars that INCLUDES upstream emissions. http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.shtml
Enter the year, make and model. Then click on "go". Then click on the "energy and environment" tab. Then click on the down arrow in the "greenhouse gas emissions" box where is says, "show". Select "tailpipe and upstream GHG".

· · 2 years ago

@Anonymous: Darn I waited too long to reply. :)

Maybe the good news is that regulations got more stringent. Plus, we've got 100 more hydro fillers for 100 lucky future tech museums. Hopefully the kids of 2112 will appreciate what $1 million could or couldn't buy in 2012, as they're chewing on a $1 million dollar Milkyway bar. hehe

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

I think that this: ... the DOE reports 20 kWh to refine a gallon of gas, ...
is an exaggeration and you cannot cite credible evidence to support it.
In support of my numbers, I offer http://www1.eere.energy.gov/industry/petroleum_refining/pdfs/bandwidth.pdf on the first line of page 5: ... in 2002 US petroleum refining used almost 3.1 quads of energy... Now we know that over 97% of transportation depends on refined petroleum, and allow me that US transportation energy consumption is about 25 quads per year, and we have that US refineries used about 12.4 % of energy over and above what was delivered to the pumps. Now, if you want to dispute numbers, please cite your reference up front, instead of just making unsupported claims that what I've provided here is way off base. Some of what I've dredged up may be wrong, but can tell you where it came from if need be, and I'll need to see the source of what contradicts it to know, not just kowtow to somebody who makes claims that I've lied. I'm not for or against anything. I'm just doing the math to see what is what.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

tterbo: You can still reply. What do you think the energy and cost ratios come to between the two different prime movers? (We can probably both agree that there are other considerations, too, but those are even harder to compare, and perhaps a bit more subjective.) By the way... I do think that electric propulsion is going to win. I just think that what's being rolled out there today is not anywhere near as good as it could be, (and perhaps not worth what we're paying for it.) I think we're all agreed that it's good to cut back on wasting energy in any form, and in continuing forever overly dependent on oil. (Although, it's might always be about impossible to have any meaningful commercial flying without oil, but, that aside...)

· iletric (not verified) · 2 years ago

Average ICE emits 90 lb of Carbon per 100 miles. BEV "emits" 30 lb. That's 60 lbs less for the same distance. Google it!

Homeowners who bought Leaf (myself included) LOVE that car. It's absolutely hassle-free and real fun to drive. So much so, I'll be getting another one (Honda, Infinity...) as soon as they come out. Once that happens, my PG&E bill is going to be about $450 a month. What would be the next logical step to offset that cost? You guessed it: Solar Shingles (DOW Powerhose). I suspect I'm not the only one thinking it. And then all you btu calculations can go bye-bye. And I'm driving for free and green. So there.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

Hey Jim, I've seen too many "black box" calculators that go from slight error to major distortions to flat out lies. I'll check out those calculators later, but I would have to compare the math behind any calculator. Besides, it's easy to just get a national average, as electricity production and fuel usages are published and easy to find. I don't bother trying to quantify carbon, either. None of our fossil fuels are going to last a thousand years, so we're likely going to burn all we can recover, and it's primarily a matter of how fast. (Though the fuel differences are significant enough that I can see why others do choose to consider them.) Oh, in case your wondering, I'm going to stay anonymous so as to let the merits of my arguments be all that gets considered, and not any credentials (or lack of!)

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

BTW, petroleum refining energy consumption goes into production of several products other than fuel, such as asphalt, lubricants, and plastics. (In fact, around a third of a barrel of oil is made into plastic.) So, I stand by my earlier assertion that upstream gasoline energy losses range between 10% and 20%, and on top of that are likely closer to 15% than either end, and I say no way 20 kWh is necessary in production of each gallon of gas, as that is absurd because it is way off base. You'll have to offer some proof other than just laying the claim on the DOE.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

Google it yourself. If it adds up, you should be able to support it yourself, not expect others to go looking for that non-existent needle in a haystack. I took the time to offer how my figures were obtained, so that you could objectively evaluate them. If they are wrong, that should make it easy for you to point out where. If you already have a source, that should make it even easier. As far as solar goes, I guess your going to charge your car overnight on that? Lunacy. I really do hope that our technologies progress, but I'm amazed at how blindly so many people follow them, like passing on urban legends. It's interesting.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

Hey, ilectric: 90 lbs is the total weight of about 13 gallons of gasoline, so that much carbon would be contained in about 15 gallons of gasoline. So the fuel mileage of that ICE you mention would have to be only about 6.7 mpg. If we ratio that up to a car that gets only 31 mpg, then based on what you provided, that car only emits about 19 pounds of carbon per hundred miles. But you said yourself that your electric car is responsible for emission of 30 pounds of carbon. You seem to be suffering from a condition known as: cranio-rectal inversion. Perhaps if you can get that fixed, you'll be able avoid such blind mistakes.

· · 2 years ago

@Anonymous: My understanding is that the EPA's rating of "99 MPG equivalent" for the LEAF is based on a comparison of the energy content of a refined gallon of gasoline versus the "wall to wheels" electricity consumption of the car. To go beyond that, you'd have to compare the energy used to produce gasoline versus electricity at the wall.

I've seen figures like 6 kWh or 7.5 kWh of energy to produce a gallon of gas, which is in the ballpark of the 20% losses you put forth (unless you're dealing with newer, dirtier sources of oil, like "oil sands" or shale oil). Of course, the losses in producing and delivering electricity from fossil fuels are greater than 20%. Roughly speaking, if the electricity to charge a LEAF comes from fossil fuels, the overall energy consumption and CO2 emissions probably aren't that different from a gasoline-fueled Prius given "typical" crude oil as input. (Keep in mind that a non-hybrid getting 40mpg on the highway might only get around 28mpg in the city.)

I do have a good friend who is at home many days and truly can charge his LEAF from his solar array. Of course, he typically charges at night because the utility company gives him credit at peak daytime rates for his solar generation. Without the LEAF, his solar array would not be as economical, though, and he would not have installed as many panels.

To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, I'd like to see much more nuclear power plus solar and wind, coupled with EVs of course.

In any case, as a southern Californian, I really appreciate the local air quality benefits of EVs. As a patriot, I appreciate the energy independence benefits.

· Montreal EV fan (not verified) · 2 years ago

To me, EVs win over the competition purely based on their torque, quietness, and refinement. The energy use and environmental benefits are merely extra bonuses. There is something about an electric motor that is very well suited to transportation. Ever watched and electric streetcar or LRT accelerate? There is an effortless "rightness" about it...So one can argue on and on about relative efficiencies, but the bottom line is that EVs give a simple effortless torque that will be very appealing to the public at large, and this will sell EVs, regardless of the environmental and energy benefits.

· iletric (not verified) · 2 years ago

Cranio-rectal, here is your link:
http://www.carbonlighthouse.com/2011/08/the-coal-powered-electric-car-pa...
Net result: BEV emits 3x less carbon than a decent ICE.

Mr. Google-it-yourlself:
Your statement about night charging not only misses the point of carbon savings with green electricity (because when you feed green energy into the grid you feed green energy into the grid -- it doesn't matter WHEN), it also reminded me of the old Russian joke: Brezhnev and Kosygyn have decided to send a rocket to the Sun. So they called up rocket scientists to present them with the plan. The plan was: we'd do it the same way we invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968... At night. For those who remember, that's the way it was.

· · 2 years ago

Wow. Too many anonymous posters to even want to bother with their ignorance. (My apologies to the few anonymous posters who are actually thinking logically).

Get a name folks! Study up a bit.

· · 2 years ago

We need a debate on why ipads dont save passwords. Five minutes of logging in to say that gas is $3.61 at Valero tonight, which I will not be getting back. Well, $3.75 at Chevron, but that's with Techron. Thankfully 240v chargers don't have a Techron option to clean out your wallet. Plus with electric cars, people don't show up to your garage with elaborate stories about how their ICE broke down again and they need gas money. To me thats really the number one seller. We can debate efficiency and warming, but the real problem with gas is paying for someone else's again and again and again. :D

· · 2 years ago

If Nichols gets her way people will be bumming us for $50,000 in spare change to fill up their million dollar hydrogen tanks. Hehe

· · 2 years ago

Well, I shouldn't try and quote the price of hydrogen. From what I hear though, ev and gas drivers have nothing to fear from Hydrogen unless planet Earth wins the gallactic lotto tomorrow.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

ilectric: It doesn't matter when you generate electricity into the grid? So you generate it when your not using it? And use it when your not generating it? Why don't you look that one up yourself.
DaryldildoDD: (did I spell your name that right?) Just jump in and call people ignorant, and you get treated that way in return. It would require a little intelligence, some thought, and some work to actually address any opposing points that get brought up. Apparently you are coming up short.
Abisile and Montreal: You do point out the best advantages, and I can appreciate that.

· · 2 years ago

@ Anonymous -

Ouch. That really stung. Interesting that you thought the ignorance comment was pointed at you. I appreciate you taking the time to prove my point. I'd be happy to debate any of your ill-conceived ideas. But only if you actually sign up and take this seriously.

· · 2 years ago

Anonymous & Guys: I think we can maybe bridge the gap. Planes run on gas for now. Driving coal or solar or hydro burning electric cars takes the demand off of oil that goes to planes. That should reduce the price of oil for planes we enjoy for traveling. Ironically, it should even reduce the price of gas for gas cars. So, really if you think about it, EVs are a good deal if you like driving them or if you just like paying less for gas for the gas cars you like. Sorry, its probably a grammatic failure to use 'like' that much, but I think there's common ground.

Also, there are a range of reasons people enjoy EVs just like why people use PCs, Macs, and Linux. Different backgrounds + different needs. Maybe you run Linux because you can't afford Windows, maybe you run Windows because you can't afford iOS. It's all got its place. :)

· iletric (not verified) · 2 years ago

Anonymous -- When you feed solar electricity into the grid you are OFFSETTING carbon pruducing generators (natural gas, oil). So the net result is a greener juice. Makes sense? And hopefully someday PG&E will create storage for this daytime good juice to use it at night.

Or better yet, I'll be storing it myself, because these storage systems are coming (zinc air battery anyone?) and feed half of my solar juice to the grid and the other half to my storage batteries at home, and use it at night to charge my BEVs.

· · 2 years ago

So far as solar is concerned, I generally charge my car during the day on sunny days, which is most days where I live. So, yes, I use my solar electricity directly.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

Darelldd: It was clear to me that you were calling me ignorant. Only the first and tenth anonymous posts weren't me. And why must I select some absurd screen name or reveal my identity and background for scrutiny? Those are not the subject of discussion. Are you such a Master Debater that you cannot provide any supporting detail for your sweeping assertion of my ignorance? Perhaps you are better than me. Perhaps you know more. Maybe you don't. I make my arguments on their own merit. I make them as clear as I can so as to lay them open for scrutiny. I defend them against ridiculous assaults, point out at least some of the false assertions made by others, correct my own when I discover them (typo or otherwise,) and do my best to carefully consider what others take the time to lay out in a meaningful way for me, as I have done for them. And yes, I through in a little sarcasm and humor, too. You can call me OccupyBlogosphere if you like, see?

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

tterbo: I like the way you are thinking about the problem.

· · 2 years ago

@ Anonymous -

The thing is, I was NOT calling you ignorant, because I had no idea which comments were yours. And going forward, I will not know either. It makes discussion quite difficult, and the first time I hear, "but I didn't say that" it really sucks the wind out of the sails, ya know? I'm not going to go up and try to keep track of which are from you and which are some other anonymous. I can and have provided plenty of support detail to much of the ignorance that has been posted here (as have others in this thread). I have untold hundreds of hours invested in my website that covers this and other aspects of EV operation. If you'd like to start a post with "it's me the special anonymous guy" we might be able to get something done. Please understand that I don't just read about this stuff and take guesses. I've been steeped in it for many years, from several angles. I don't know everything, and certainly don't have all the answers. But I do have direct experience in much of what is being discussed.

You were the one asking what was wrong with hydrogen, right? Man, I'm not sure I even have the time to get started!

I'm actually sorry that I even ducked in here, but honestly couldn't believe some of the stuff being said. Busy day today, or I'd put more effort in here.

· Objective (not verified) · 2 years ago

Daryl: OK, that's reason enough for me to "Objective." The hydrogen post was me being facetious. Hydrogen is even less viable than electric, but electric isn't mainstream viable either. Supporters of EV can jump into a rant against H2, but seem deaf to the fact that many of the same limiting attributes of H2 are also owned by EV's, some to a lesser degree, some perhaps greater, but several that are similar in both pros and cons. People don't mind listening when they agree, but sometimes have trouble when they don't. We all own that to varying degrees. What's your page that details all the reasons for your position? If you already have it there, I'll read it.

· · 2 years ago

@ Objective -
You can find darrelldd on the right hand side of the home page for this website - he's listed in the "Meet Our Contributors" column. Here is a link to his profile page: http://www.plugincars.com/user/darelldd

On that page is the link to the website he referred to, but I'll link it here also: http://evnut.com/

· · 2 years ago

"No Discussion Allowed"

That pretty much sums of the arrogant $0.65 billion California Air Resources Board. They should shut down this rouge operation, and start over.

· Objective (not verified) · 2 years ago

Well, I've seen darrelldd's profile page on PlugInCars before. I'm sure I haven't followed every link. In fairness though, I've shown how empirically derived data calculates to show that EV's are only an incremental improvement at best, and perhaps even a slight step backward in terms of overall energy use. Yes, they rely on sources other than oil, and that is an advantage, but they are being propped up by government support in a much bigger way than oil. Oil is big because of it's advantages. Yes, it has disadvantages, and they are significant. My main contention is not with pushing forward with electric cars, it is with propping up commercialization of what the market doesn't support. Sometimes supporters of EV's say, "When gas hits $10 per gallon, then EV's will be popular." Yes. With those economic parameters, I'll probably get my EV for my daily commute, WITHOUT having to have the government pay me to do it. Another point to be made is that these money's poured into Ener1, ($118.5 grant, that's GRANT=GIFT) and loan guarantees could have been put to better use? Don't insist that isn't possible. That company is a major owner of Think, which has gone through bankruptcy now 3 times? This is Ener1's first bankruptcy, and who's to say it will be the last. I'm all for improvement, I do wish EV's were more viable. I think it's an abuse of power the way so much government support is being showered on so many of these losing bets. Whatever happened to a proof of commercial viability before scaling up? Most of the supporters of this situation are benefiting directly from it: every EV owner, every EV supplier, most (if not all) battery makers. That might tend to bias opinions, or do you deny that?

· · 2 years ago

@Objective: I'm going to attempt to quickly address the points you raised above:

- I would agree that, given the power mix in many parts of the country, EVs by default do not represent an improvement with respect to overall energy use and greenhouse gases relative to hybrids like the Prius. On the other hand, in regions like the Pacific Northwest where hydropower plays a huge role, and in areas that use a good deal of nuclear energy, EVs do indeed represent a dramatic step forward in this respect. In addition, by offsetting their electricity use with solar generation, or by paying a bit of a premium to be allocated renewable energy, EV drivers in most of the country can substantially reduce the net carbon footprint attributable to their driving.

- My understanding is that the total amount of government support for petroleum extraction is substantially greater than the amount of support for EVs. The only way this would not be true is on a per car basis. Obviously, any single, new EV is receiving far greater support than any single gasoline vehicle. That make sense given that the EV market is in its infancy and the goal is to jump-start it.

- I am also skeptical regarding many of the government grants and loan guarantees. While there have been some success stories, we all know how inefficient government can be, and then there's the problem of politicization. Arguably, sticking with simple tax credits (as in the $7500 for purchasing an EV) might be the best way to go.

- As for "commercial viability", the point of the EV tax credits is to accelerate that. Today's LEAF, for instance, is a viable car for many. Nissan has repeatedly stated that, by scaling up production and lowering costs, they expect to be able to profitably sell the LEAF after the tax credits have expired. Remember that gasoline cars benefit from 100 years of mass production. We are trying to reach that point with EVs in a much shorter time frame.

- Concerning biases, as a (relatively new) EV driver, yes, I am biased. I am seeing the benefits first hand! Here's another little benefit: Up here in the mountains where we have cold mornings, it sure is nice not having to breathe exhaust while "warming up" the car (as a gas car runs rich then), especially on those days when we have to clear snow and ice from the driveway behind the car!

· · 2 years ago

"Electricity is only an energy intermediary without much infrastructure support."

Eh... you have to work pretty hard to find a habitable building in the USA that doesn't have electricity. Additional charging stations would be really nice, but they are not strictly required as any standard 120v outlet is a potential charging station. Hydrogen fueling stations ARE strictly required, as is the means of producing and distributing it.

To address high-efficiency cars vs. electric cars, I'll cite an exhaustive 2007 study (PDF warning):

http://web.mit.edu/sloan-auto-lab/research/beforeh2/files/kromer_electri...

You can skip to Table 50, page 115 and the graphs on page 116. While it is true that total energy per mile may be ever so slightly higher for an EV compared to a vehicle that gets excellent mileage, EVs have three very compelling advantages that make them preferable in my opinion:

1) Any incremental improvement in the source of electricity automatically improves the performance of every vehicle that draws from it. Coal, for example, has declined since that study was taken. Every EV on the road is now greener as a result. Which leads us to:

2) They are not necessarily beholden to fossil fuels. Even though the majority of our electricity is based on fossil fuels, this is not an absolute requirement. A gasoline engine will always need gasoline and there is no place to get gasoline other than from fossil fuels. You could argue that gasoline can be replaced with a biofuel alternative, but I suspect that would drastically shift the total energy/mile balance in favor of EVs and make this whole conversation moot.

3) An immediate elimination of localized pollution, which carries with it all kinds of benefits that I won't address now as this post is already running long.

Incidentally 3mi/kWh is a low average IMHO. If you can't do better than that you have a very poorly made EV and/or a very poor driver. I don't think it's totally unrealistic, though, so I'm not going to complain too much. Basically you're pitting an overall optimistic number for an ICEv against a pessimistic number for an EV. Even with the deck stacked as such, EVs hold their own.

Finally, back to the hydrogen comment - any means you use to generate the hydrogen could be used to generate electricity, and therefore skip the inefficiencies associated with processing and transporting the hydrogen. That is why I refer to it as an intermediary. Again, hydrogen right now wins out due to reliance on fossil fuels (natural gas) but once that goes away, so does Hydrogen's advantage. Compare hydrogen MJ/MJ given on table 3, page 28 which assumes natural gas reformation, to the "electrolysis" figure in table 47, page 111. Introduce bio-methane and again the argument is moot.

· · 2 years ago

I am quite enjoying the thread more without my participation. I think I'll just sit and read until I can't help myself.

Great responses just above mine here.

· · 2 years ago

@Objective,
Thanks for giving a name to which we can address you.
You're right that EVs given the worst case EV assumptions are about the same as gasoline ICE, given the best case ICE assumptions with regards to costs and emissions. However, in nominal cases, EVs are significantly better AND they are independent of oil. The grid is only getting better and oil is only getting worse, therefore, the question is not whether we transition from oil but when we do so.
I know a lot of old people who don't really care since they will be dead before oil gets too intolerable but those who really want to leave something for their kids may not be so indifferent.
I'll agree with you that I don't like the government subsidizing much of anything, however, my view does not seem to be popular with either party or most of the populace. Today, there is significant propping up of oil supplies, the largest being the war in the Middle East. I'm a veteran and not opposed to fighting when necessary but making yourself weak by becoming dependent on something you don't own, then having to fight to get more is just plain un-American.

· Objective (not verified) · 2 years ago

Daryl, Abasile, Ex-EV1driver: Now that's the depth of support for the EV upside that I wanted to see and consider, not that puff stuff with so many blatant exaggerations of one side and denials of valid points on the other. That only muddies the water. I think we can all agree that about the importance of carefully considering matters of such wide common concern as the disposition of large sums of tax money and significant investments of our social dependencies into various industries. Smidge, there was both a touch of facetiousness and a touch of truth to the electricity infrastructure comment. Most everybody can safely charge at home. Many would have to "bum juice" or work out a deal to charge away from home. And, lot's of money is being poured into public support for construction of charging stations. So that taken together says yes, we have what we need for these cars, but no, we need more for these cars. I'll have to address the remainder of this sudden wave of (I'm not saying I agree, but) well presented arguments tomorrow, as it is late. But, off the top of my head I will say that I appreciate Abasile's acknowledgement that my figures on energy use are close enough. I do of course mean to compare the higher mileage cars of today to electric, and not the gas guzzlers. After all, it's not an unreasonable assumption that if no pure or plug in EV's were available (or within affordable reach,) then the folks buying EV's would likely be buying those higher mileage standard ICE, mild hybrid ICE's, or hybrids. I point out that appreciation because the overblown attacks that this comparison usually draws not only frustrate me, but they make me wonder how unrealistic some peoples expectations really are on what EV's will do for us. By the way, if you want to support EV's, get the word out that it's time to charge car insurance by the mile, not the vehicle count. That's a killer in a high cost of insurance state/area. If a families circumstances are such that an EV can only be a limited use vehicle, then to use one it must be an extra vehicle, on top of the minimum full range set needed to service peak demand. Even with multi-car discount, the added cost of third vehicle insurance for a two car family often completely offsets any fuel savings that might have been realized. I'll more closely respond to the points you all have made tomorrow, or by the weekend at best.

· · 2 years ago

@Objective: Thank you for this exchange. Looking forward to your further thoughts.

I understand what you are saying about the cost of insuring multiple vehicles. We have multiple drivers on our policy (my wife and myself, plus my in-laws) and three cars, only two of which get used routinely. The LEAF is accumulating mileage at the fastest rate, more than we anticipated when we bought it. Our Prius also gets a good amount of use, though it's been months since I personally have driven it. As mountain residents, we are also keeping a somewhat older all-wheel-drive car mainly to avoid having to put on snow chains at times, but it mostly just sits, plugged into a 12 V battery tender. Unfortunately, in terms of insurance costs, there is little difference between occasional use and regular use. If the LEAF had more range and all-wheel-drive, we might consider owning only two cars to save money, but then again, with multiple drivers there are occasions when it can be helpful to have a third car available.

· Howard (not verified) · 2 years ago

What is wrong with Hydrogen ? Well in fact everything. Yes the tailpipe does not emit but the machine Honda wants you to have in your home garage is a C02 pumping
dangerous Hydrogen making unit that requires both electricity and a natural gas pipeline. The expansion of FRACKING is all about Hydrogen a Hydrogen car is a FRACK-MOBILE ! Hydrogen is a very dangerous substance and a hydrogen car
needs what an electric car has just to work so why bother with hydrogen and just
use the EV tech directly ? Above all it is a racket controlled by Big Oil they are
behind Hydrogen.

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 2 years ago

Humm , all this concern about Plant Food, and not a single word about radioactive milk, california almonds and prunes, and Pacific Tuna. Not politically correct to think about it I guess. But young japanese women who are seeing their hair and teeth fall out are suspecting something is very wrong.

Any concern about the most important Greenhouse Gas? Water Vapor?

Ask any U.S. Soldiers who have used "DU" (depleted uranium) it they have any unexplainable health problems. I'll give you a hint, plant food had nothing to do with it.

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 2 years ago

@Marsha

Point taken, I've put my money where my mouth is and I've installed a Solar Porch Light (works pretty good except in winter when there's too much NIGHT around here).

Many African economists are a bit upset with the "West" though, for insisting Africans use the world's most expensive energy by those who are currently the world's poorest people.

But the British have been playing this "game" with the african continent for at least the past 300 years.

I only drop specs of comments here.. A full analysis would be off-putting on a plug-in-cars blog, so i'll forget it here.

But it seems likely that PV and Wind Power will have a greater percentage of the energy mix as time marches forward. Bedwetters can calm themselves in that knowledge

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