Subtitle: Is that power cord really just a different way you get hosed?
Is it just me or does there seem to be a new advertising push for you to run out and buy an electric vehicle? I keep seeing television commercials exalting the electric vehicle for its “green” pedigree and how they are definitely the vehicles of the future. One in particular even references “George Jetson and his ‘boy’ Elroy”, who is actually his dog, and how electric vehicles have “instant power” making them more fun to drive. Why do I feel like I’m in the “time machine”?
Because for the last 2+ decades there has been this really inexplicable drive to move the Country, and the whole Earth, away from the “dirty” tech of the internal combustion engine driven vehicles. It is “believed” in today’s world that the way to make human transport “clean and green” is through moving more and more of our vehicles to hybrid, “plug-in” hybrid and all-electric technologies. But when the real science involved in this transformation is investigated, are we really accomplishing the stated objectives? Or are the taxpayers once again being “hosed” by the feel-good crowd and their crony-capitalist accomplices? Do you or anybody else really want to know? Well we do.
Where do we start to look to unwind this situation and try to get to the truth of the matter? I usually find that examining the Laws of Physics related to this kind of question is a good place to start. Does the move to electric vehicles result in a reduction in the total energy necessary to achieve the same result? The simple answer is no. In its simplest measure, it takes the same amount of energy to move “X” number of pounds from point A to point B if all the other variables are the same. Now, is there any evidence that how that energy is applied or utilized really makes a difference? Not as far as I have been able to find at this point.
So, for the vehicle types that the “green” energy advocates consider to be the best result, the plug-in hybrid, where does this energy come from? We will examine only the US model at this point. This is the US electrical supply in 2015 by generating source- Coal = 30%, Natural gas = 32%, Nuclear = 20%, Hydropower = 6%, other renewable = 11% and last but least, Petroleum = 1%. From this information we have to see that the plug-in hybrid is first and foremost a natural gas, coal and nuclear powered vehicle.
But that’s just one part of the equation because this doesn’t take in to account the amount of energy that is lost through the transmission process. Most people don’t understand, or even consider, that the amount of energy that is fed in to the transmission grid is reduced by the amount of energy consumed in the transmission process before it reaches the point of use. But in evaluating the “greenness” of the plug-in hybrid, this must be considered because it is part of the equation. Also, the plug-in hybrid still must have a supplemental internal combustion gasoline engine in case you need to go farther than you can go on a charge. There is a whole additional story in that which we will cover at a later date.
Now, let’s look at a practical example, the 2018 Chevy Cruze, a standard gasoline-powered vehicle, and the 2018 Chevy Volt, the plug-in hybrid version of the same car. First is the weight of the vehicles- Chevy Cruze- 2835#, Chevy Volt- 3543#. WOW! The immediate thing you know is that it’s going to take ~20% more energy to drive the Volt than the Cruze just because of the added weight from the batteries. Did you, or anybody, ever even consider this in the conversation? I’m just guessing the answer to that question is NO. Next is the price- Chevy Cruze- $18,975, Chevy Volt- $34,095. WOW!! For the privilege of using ~20% more energy to achieve the same result, you get to spend ~45% more to purchase the vehicle. Can you say, “What a bargain!”? And we haven’t even mentioned the government/industry crony capitalism that is put in place to at least make you think you’re getting a kiss while you’re getting screwed.
Yes, this means your government has to be involved. Why? Well, since it is your government that has pushed the “the electric car must be the answer” narrative, then your government must provide some kind of incentive to offset the disparity in purchasing their answer. Why? Well, because the average American is not stupid enough, yet, to buy this happy horse hockey without an incentive. So your national government will give you, the consumer, for example to purchase the Chevy Volt, a $7500 tax credit. On top of that, depending on what State you live in, you might get additional tax breaks and discount incentives to buy your electric car. In some States they even give you a tax credit to help cover the cost of your private electric car home charging station. You can find this information here- http://www.pluginamerica.org/incentives
Are you, as a taxpayer, feeling hosed yet? You should. There is another element of this situation I would like to address in closing and that is how the plug-in hybrid in general removes you, the consumer, from the market when it comes to the purchasing of your vehicle fuel. Good or bad, with the plug-in hybrid you’re tied to government-controlled electric rates for the pricing of your vehicle fuel. In the last 36 months the price at the pump of gasoline has gone down around 30% where your price per/KW of electricity has actually increased. Just something you can think about when you have to spend more “green” to fuel your electric car. Are you feeling really green yet? Or are you just feeling hosed?
God Bless America! And America, Please Bless God Again!