Author Topic: Is now the time to buy an EV?  (Read 4113 times)

mayhem

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Is now the time to buy an EV?
« on: April 04, 2022, 01:46:32 PM »
I missed the boat in 2020 when used Chevy Bolts were ~$15k. Now used EVs with any range are going for ~$25-35k, and new EVs MSRP is still pretty flat. I'm considering a new (gasp) EV for the following reasons. 1) Federal Tax credit will probably begin winding down before the used EV market goes back to normal and I doubt the US Gov'ts ability to get more incentives out there 2) Gas prices are high and might be high for a while, my calcs say I could save $2500/yr if my household replaced one car with an EV. 3) New EVs will likely hold value well because they have DC fast Charging and a range that will still be relevant in 5+ years (who needs a car that can go more than 200mi between charging).

The question boils down to this: I can buy a new Kia Niro for $32k after incentives, should I do it, or do I need some face punching sense knocked into me.

nereo

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2022, 02:03:03 PM »
Call the dealership and inquire about lead-times for the Kia Niro (or any new BEV for that matter) - you might be in for a rude awakening.

Recently it's also quite common for dealers to charge anywhere from $3k-7k above MSRP because there's such a supply/demand mismatch.  Which is to say that your estimate of $32k for a Kia Niro might be optimistic right now.

To address your specific points
1) who knows what congress will do. Several very large auto manufacturers are building very large EV and battery plants right now, and have a vested interest in the federal credit remaining for a while. Then again members of congress frequently go against their and their constituents vested interests for [reasons]

2) again, who knows with fuel prices. Gasoline pump prices are stubbornly high until they aren't, and there's always a story about how we never expected prices to fall so far so fast.  And the converse is true.

3) Maybe?  Note that how well a car holds its value is only relevant if you plan on selling well before it's end of useful life. IF you plan on keeping the car for 10+ years or >150,000 depreciation will be your friend (lower taxes, lower insurance premiums).

3b) the majority of the savings with an EV aren't fuel, but maintenance and repairs. 

mayhem

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2022, 02:14:52 PM »
Those are good points. The dealer we talked to the other day quoted us $3k above MSRP, and I think about 2mo lead time (lead time is no concern). Another outsized influence is my desire to cut out fossil fuels. I was so close back in 2020 and then prices started ticking up and now I feel like I'm missing the boat. This shouldn't matter so much as I try and use my rational brain to make the best decision, but it is a factor. Even if gas prices drop tomorrow, I'm still going to want to drive an EV for cost savings and environmental reasons (our local utility offers overnight charging for $0.08/kWh instead of the regular rate of $0.15/kWh).

A new car for $32k just feels wildly expensive, but then again I've never owned a new car.

nereo

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2022, 05:58:16 PM »
To be clear, I get where you are coming from, and full disclosure we are “in the queue” to buy our own BEV - which would be our very first brand new vehicle ever.  The current economics of new-vs-old in the EV department (subsidized new cars, insane used market) meant we could get something brand new for about the same cost as a 3 year old model with ~36k miles on it right now.

Like you, our main motivation was just to get off fossil fuels, and we’re willing to spend some of our money to do so.

…and while we are on the subject, I find it facinating and more than a bit frustrating that vehicles seem to be one area where many around here look only at the purchase price and ignore other ‘quality’ aspects, particularly as they relate to personal values.  We seem more forgiving for someone who pays an extra $100k to buy a house in a nicer neighborhood, or a few hundred more per month for a better* diet, or any number of expenses above the minimum.

Abe

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2022, 09:21:42 PM »
I second your assessment, nereo - on a side note, I realized the cost for us to be energy independent was less than the average cost of an SUV in my neighborhood (even without the tax credits). Granted most people on this forum won't drop $40k on an SUV because they're not insane, but it seems relatively common these days.

Financially it probably doesn't make sense to buy an EV unless your current vehicle is at its expiration date, and you plan on keeping the new car for many years

For us in Houston it comes to:
Gas price / mile (Forrester) = 7.5 cents (average $2.50 per gallon in my area)
Electricity price / mile (ID4) = 4.1 cents (average 10 cents per kWh in my area

In California it was:
Gas price / mile = 10.5 cents ($3.50 / gal)
Electricity price =  6.1 cents (15 cents per kWh)

I drive about 6,000 miles per year so only save $200 per year here, and $264 in California. Maintenance is a bit less with EVs, but most reasonable cars/SUVs don't require a lot of expensive maintenance anyway. 

Point being, financially it may not be the best time and the future will likely be brighter. But there are many non-financial reasons to be part of the change that is likely inevitable and clearly necessary.

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2022, 09:56:02 PM »
Agree with Abe and nereo in general, although my midwest assumption was $3/gal is $0.10/mi (Honda Fit) vs $0.1/kwh is $0.3 to 0.4/mi (Mach E, summer/winter numbers).

@mayhem you'll have to assess yourself, but I will say as much as I really really like the Mach E, had we not decided that we needed to go from 1-car to 2-car (kid activities, older parents, regular allergist appts), we wouldn't have one. I wouldn't just replace the Honda Fit with an EV as the Fit has plenty of useful life left (under 90k miles @ 12 years old). I expect the EV space to advance quickly and considerably over the next 5-10 years, so if we could run the Fit that long, we'll get a lot more car for our $$$$ when we do eventually have to replace it.

When we decided we really did just need a second car, then we knew it was BEV or PHEV with a preference to BEV. We have the Fit if there's a use case (2024 solar eclipse) we're worried about the BEV for (charging in rural areas for a potentially long drive chasing clear skys), so the ability to use gas if we're out of battery in a PHEV doesn't buy us as much -- we can (in most cases) select for that before we leave.

I would look closely at the 800v architecture cars -- which is to say those you can do the 10->80% charge in under 20 minutes. Ioniq 5/EV6/Lyriq/Taycan/Teslas (technically not but close enough?) right now, I think? The slow travel of a fast-but-only-400v charging car like the Mach E (~40-50 min for 10->80%) can be a bother if we have kids in the car.

cool7hand

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2022, 04:15:51 AM »
Please excuse my ignorance, but how can one say that one is eliminating fossil fuels by buying an electric vehicle, when fossil fuels are more likely than not burned to make the electricity that recharges the vehicle?

Paper Chaser

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2022, 04:45:51 AM »
If environmental concerns are a main driver, make sure you know how many miles it will take for the new EV to break even with your current vehicle.

Making EVs is more carbon intensive than making new ICEs, and can be much more detrimental than simply keeping an old vehicle going. If your current vehicle is something that's efficient, has a lot of life left in it, and/or doesn't get driven very much then replacing it with a new EV with hundreds of miles of range can be counter productive to your climate saving goals. What you drive, how much life remains, and perhaps most importantly how much you drive are huge factors.

PHEVs are potentially a more environmentally friendly option as they have smaller batteries (lower footprint during production), and use a higher percentage of their battery daily (rare elements can be distributed among a higher number of vehicles instead of locked away in unused extra capacity in a handful of cars). If a 250 mile BEV has an 85kwh battery pack and gets driven 12k miles per year, then you've replaced 12k ICE miles with 12k EV miles. Or, you could break up that 85kwh battery pack into 5 smaller 17kwh packs put into PHEVs. They wouldn't all be replacing 100% of their ICE miles with EV miles, but with each PHEV having about 50 miles of range, it's pretty likely that more than 75% of the miles driven by each PHEV would be under electric power. So, 75% of the same 12k annual miles would be 9k all electric miles per year by each of the 5 PHEVs. So you end up getting 45k electric miles driven per year instead of just 9k by splitting up those battery materials into more vehicles. After 5 years, the single EV will have driven 45k electric miles, while the 5 PHEVs combined will have driven 405k electric miles. So by sequestering all of that capacity into a single vehicle, you're getting fewer EV miles driven overall than you would with PHEVs.

Simply replacing all current ICEs with EVs isn't really possible. We don't have the necessary resources to do it. If the goal is to reduce the number of miles driven with fossil fuels, then we should be:
- using those battery materials as efficiently as we can (spread among the highest number of vehicles possible)
- trying to reduce the total miles driven overall

nereo

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2022, 05:03:58 AM »
Please excuse my ignorance, but how can one say that one is eliminating fossil fuels by buying an electric vehicle, when fossil fuels are more likely than not burned to make the electricity that recharges the vehicle?

You are absolutely right that one needs to consider the complete carbon lifecycle of a vehicle purchase, and BEVs are by no means “carbon free” - both in their manufacture (which can be considerable) and in their recharging.  Overall they have a much lower footprint than ICE vehicles, but the electricity portfolio has a big impact on just how ‘green’ they are.

Speaking of our own situation (since you are responding to this thread and comments I have made) we sized our PV array to account for a BEV, and our workplace is doing something similar as part of their B-corp cert.

While not an option for many, I encourage anyone looking at BEVs for environmental reasons to at least explore whether a PV is a reasonable option. I considered it a “$10k car option that provides free fuel for life”.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2022, 07:18:24 AM by nereo »

cool7hand

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2022, 05:38:14 AM »
Please excuse my ignorance, but how can one say that one is eliminating fossil fuels by buying an electric vehicle, when fossil fuels are more likely than not burned to make the electricity that recharges the vehicle?

You are absolutely right that one needs to consider the complete carbon lifecycle of a vehicle purchase, and BEVs are by no means “carbon free” - both in their manufacture (which can be considerable) and in their recharging.  Overall they have a much lower footprint than ICE vehicles, but the electricity portfolio has a big impact on just how ‘green’ they are.

Speaking of our own situation (since you are responding to this thread and comments I have made) we sized our PV array to account for a BEV, and our workplace is doing something similar as part of their B-corp cert.

While not an option for many, I encourage anyone looking at BEVs for environmental reasons to at least explore whether a PEV is a reasonable option. I considered it a “$10k car option that provides free fuel for life”.
Thanks! This is helpful.

mayhem

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2022, 09:55:08 AM »
Thanks for the insight all. To answer CoolHand7, we are fortunate to live in the service territory of a very forward thinking utility. Our electricity is 'net zero carbon', if you allow them to do some REC gymnastics. Even without it they are darn close to CO2 neutral electricity production. But you make a good point. I've got a friend who wrote this article re: long tailpipe.  https://buildingenergy.cx-associates.com/a-long-wind-on-long-tailpipes

I think for us, the BEV is not our best climate-investment at the moment. We could make other investments like a wood-stove to supplement our heat pump, additional insulation in our attic, new roof to accept PV for about the same as we'd spend on an EV. Perhaps the best play is to wait for all auto prices to cool off, while EVs become more ubiquitous.

Abe

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2022, 08:05:40 PM »
Thanks for the insight all. To answer CoolHand7, we are fortunate to live in the service territory of a very forward thinking utility. Our electricity is 'net zero carbon', if you allow them to do some REC gymnastics. Even without it they are darn close to CO2 neutral electricity production. But you make a good point. I've got a friend who wrote this article re: long tailpipe.  https://buildingenergy.cx-associates.com/a-long-wind-on-long-tailpipes

I think for us, the BEV is not our best climate-investment at the moment. We could make other investments like a wood-stove to supplement our heat pump, additional insulation in our attic, new roof to accept PV for about the same as we'd spend on an EV. Perhaps the best play is to wait for all auto prices to cool off, while EVs become more ubiquitous.

Your plan is a good one!

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2022, 09:15:37 PM »
Please excuse my ignorance, but how can one say that one is eliminating fossil fuels by buying an electric vehicle, when fossil fuels are more likely than not burned to make the electricity that recharges the vehicle?

Recent studies had come out with it being better as an EV, in terms of co2/mile, even in coal country (WV or China). The short version is: electrical transmission and batteries are fairly efficient and the power plant can be more efficient than a gasoline engine. There's also the large part of the US's power that is already not fossil fuel based -- nukes, hydro, wind, solar. The majority of the energy for my state is non-fossil fuel based.

Accounting for production emissions still has a lot of debate, so is harder to quantify. We're also so early that nobody's really doing much on closing the end-of-life recycling loop, which might make an initial larger co2 cost for an EV lower over time vs the ICE, which already have recycling established (its mostly just steel).

In terms of replacing an ICE with an EV, while that may look not carbon neutral (EV's higher initial production co2, which seems to be accepted as true) from an individual standpoint, assuming you don't just junkyard the potentially better-than-average-efficiency ICE, then whoever buys it used may get a more efficient car than they otherwise would or may be upgrading a less efficient one. Society-level is what really matters, not individual carbon footprints.

NorCal

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2022, 06:29:46 AM »
Please excuse my ignorance, but how can one say that one is eliminating fossil fuels by buying an electric vehicle, when fossil fuels are more likely than not burned to make the electricity that recharges the vehicle?

This is a pretty common question.  I did some of this arithmetic on the thread https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/budget-your-emissions-like-your-finances!/msg2993571/

Here's the simple math:

1. A gallon of gasoline emits 17.87lbs of emissions (Source: https://www.eia.gov/environment/emissions/co2_vol_mass.php)
2. The carbon emissions from electricity vary heavily based on your utility.  You can find the emissions from your local utility here (https://www.epa.gov/egrid/data-explorer).  Choose output emissions rates (lb/MWh) and sort by state.  The dirtiest electricity is from Wyoming with 1.976lbs/kwh, and the lowest is Vermont with 0.023lbs/kwh.

So driving a car 15,000 miles per year that gets 20mpg will burn 750 gallons of gas and emit 13,402lbs of CO2.

EV's typically get roughly 3 Miles per Kwh.  Some a bit more and some a bit less.  So driving an EV for 15,000 miles will use about 5,000kwh.  Charging this car with Wyoming Coal power will emit 9,880lbs of emissions.  So even powering an EV with the dirtiest energy possible would result in a 26% emissions reduction. 

It's worth doing the math for your own use-case.

My utility in Colorado reports their own emissions rate a 1.045lbs/kwh, so in my case, driving an EV 15,000 would only emit 5,225lbs of emissions, which is a 61% emissions reduction.

As an added benefit, the electrical grid is cleaning up pretty rapidly.  In my state of Colorado, emissions intensity is declining by 5-10% per year, and will reduce even more dramatically as several coal plants close in the back-half of this decade.  So the EV I buy today will get cleaner every year, whereas the internal combustion car will pollute the same amount over its entire lifetime.

Tester

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2022, 09:05:25 AM »
I am looking for an EV or at least plug in hybrid for our next car.
In fact I almost bought a Bolt last year.

I think that in the EV world there is still a very long way until we get the clean product we are all dreaming of.

There are already several aspects of an EV which most of the people do not think about, they just think: "No tailpipe, this means unicorns and rainbows".

In this thread there were already some discussions about the carbon footprint of the manufacturing part (which for now seems to be bigger for an EV opposed to an ICE).
I think having more EVs/plug in hybrids with smaller batteries can do a great job at improving this (don't just carry a big battery while you only use 30% of it regularly).

One more area, end of life carbon footprint (I am not sure I saw data here comparing the ICE and EV end of life carbon footprint).

I am not sure I saw a lot of people/articles discussing the carbon footprint of changing our lives to include EVs.
This has multiple aspects, I am just writing down some I thought about:
- 2/3/100 car households - do you play musical chairs to charge them all or do you build a bigger garage, multiple charging stations, more power required from the grid.
- power distribution infrastructure (I think this is one of the biggest) - I am 99% sure our distribution infrastructure can't support everyone going EV. A lot of carbon footprint for improving it I think.
- power production (this might be the biggest) - again I am 99% sure we don't have enough power production capability for everyone to go EV - even for "clean" energy sources there is a carbon footprint for building new facilities to harvest that clean energy and I don't know how fast that can be offset by the rest of the benefits of EVs.


The above are only about households going EV, without industrial/business transportation needs going EV.

I would love to see some data about how these issues will be solved.

I hope the fusion efforts will succeed, I think that could really "solve everything".

Anyway, this might be off topic right here, did not find a topic discussing these aspects in this forum for now.

cool7hand

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2022, 10:42:27 AM »


 So even powering an EV with the dirtiest energy possible would result in a 26% emissions reduction. 

[/quote]

Thanks @NorCal for the detailed analysis! That's pretty cool!

How does the analysis change, if at all, when you look at the carbon footprint of manufacturing an EV v. gas vehicle?

Paper Chaser

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2022, 10:49:19 AM »
Please excuse my ignorance, but how can one say that one is eliminating fossil fuels by buying an electric vehicle, when fossil fuels are more likely than not burned to make the electricity that recharges the vehicle?

This is a pretty common question.  I did some of this arithmetic on the thread https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/budget-your-emissions-like-your-finances!/msg2993571/

Here's the simple math:

1. A gallon of gasoline emits 17.87lbs of emissions (Source: https://www.eia.gov/environment/emissions/co2_vol_mass.php)
2. The carbon emissions from electricity vary heavily based on your utility.  You can find the emissions from your local utility here (https://www.epa.gov/egrid/data-explorer).  Choose output emissions rates (lb/MWh) and sort by state.  The dirtiest electricity is from Wyoming with 1.976lbs/kwh, and the lowest is Vermont with 0.023lbs/kwh.

So driving a car 15,000 miles per year that gets 20mpg will burn 750 gallons of gas and emit 13,402lbs of CO2.

EV's typically get roughly 3 Miles per Kwh.  Some a bit more and some a bit less.  So driving an EV for 15,000 miles will use about 5,000kwh.  Charging this car with Wyoming Coal power will emit 9,880lbs of emissions.  So even powering an EV with the dirtiest energy possible would result in a 26% emissions reduction. 

It's worth doing the math for your own use-case.

My utility in Colorado reports their own emissions rate a 1.045lbs/kwh, so in my case, driving an EV 15,000 would only emit 5,225lbs of emissions, which is a 61% emissions reduction.

We should also account for the emissions from manufacturing and end of life as well, and in those areas, BEVs are typically worse than ICEs. It probably works out in the EV's favor over the entire lifetime, but there are many variables and it's not quite as clear as just comparing the footprints of ICE vs BEV during their usage. From EPA website: https://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/electric-vehicle-myths#Myth5


And that image is a very generic statement too. There are inefficient BEVs just as there are inefficient ICEs. A Tesla Model 3 Long Range gets 350 miles of range out of an 82kwh battery (an efficiency of 4.26 miles of range per kwh of battery capacity). The new Hummer gets 329 miles of range, but it's battery is a whopping 200kwh (efficiency of 1.65 miles per kwh). So the EV Hummer isn't even half as efficient as the Model 3 Long Range. It's going to have more than twice the manufacturing and disposal emissions thanks to having more than double the battery capacity, and it's going to consume more than twice the kwh over it's lifetime vs something like a Bolt or Model 3. While the carbon footprint of the EV Hummer is certainly an improvement over a comparable ICE, it's at the very least conceivable that it's lifetime carbon emissions are higher than an efficient ICE.

As an added benefit, the electrical grid is cleaning up pretty rapidly.  In my state of Colorado, emissions intensity is declining by 5-10% per year, and will reduce even more dramatically as several coal plants close in the back-half of this decade.  So the EV I buy today will get cleaner every year, whereas the internal combustion car will pollute the same amount over its entire lifetime.

We should not assume that they'll automatically clean up the power grid. As always, money is a factor. Coal was losing prominence for years because Natural Gas was cleaner, and cheap. But when NG prices rose in 2021 (and so far in 2022) it's usage dropped, while coal's usage increased:



Renewables continue to gain acceptance which is great. But fossil fuels are still the two largest generators of electricity in the US by a large margin. When renewables are cheaper and more feasible than fossil fuels they become viable to more than just individuals. But that's very location specific.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2022, 11:03:26 AM by Paper Chaser »

Tester

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2022, 10:53:58 AM »


 So even powering an EV with the dirtiest energy possible would result in a 26% emissions reduction. 


Thanks @NorCal for the detailed analysis! That's pretty cool!

How does the analysis change, if at all, when you look at the carbon footprint of manufacturing an EV v. gas vehicle?
[/quote]

It seems the initial footprint is bigger, depends on how fast you get even.
https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/lifetime-carbon-emissions-electric-vehicles-vs-gasoline-cars-2021-06-29/

Other sources found a bigger mileage to get even, I could not find those again right now.

NorCal

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #18 on: April 06, 2022, 04:55:10 PM »


 So even powering an EV with the dirtiest energy possible would result in a 26% emissions reduction. 


Thanks @NorCal for the detailed analysis! That's pretty cool!

How does the analysis change, if at all, when you look at the carbon footprint of manufacturing an EV v. gas vehicle?

It seems the initial footprint is bigger, depends on how fast you get even.
https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/lifetime-carbon-emissions-electric-vehicles-vs-gasoline-cars-2021-06-29/

Other sources found a bigger mileage to get even, I could not find those again right now.
[/quote]

I've seen a number of studies on this in the news created by various sources.  They each vary, depending on what they assume the vehicle usage and electricity profile would be.  Most of the articles seem to put the "carbon payback" period at about 2-3 years (if I remember correctly).  So it's not as bad as the anti-EV crowd makes it out to be.

One thing I'm really excited about is the introduction of low-carbon steel into automaking.  BMW and Volvo are experimenting with it.  While I don't plan on buying a BMW or Volvo, I hope they're successful enough that other manufacturers copy the process.  I assume we'd see it in EV's first, as it fits in more with the branding.

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2022, 09:48:50 PM »
- 2/3/100 car households - do you play musical chairs to charge them all or do you build a bigger garage, multiple charging stations, more power required from the grid.
- power distribution infrastructure (I think this is one of the biggest) - I am 99% sure our distribution infrastructure can't support everyone going EV. A lot of carbon footprint for improving it I think.
- power production (this might be the biggest) - again I am 99% sure we don't have enough power production capability for everyone to go EV - even for "clean" energy sources there is a carbon footprint for building new facilities to harvest that clean energy and I don't know how fast that can be offset by the rest of the benefits of EVs.

You're thinking like a gas car where you go to a station and fill it up from empty.

We've had our EV since July. Call it 8.5 months. In that time it has gone 4000 miles. Call it 3 mi/kwh. That's 1300 kwh, total, to run it (cost: ~= $130). 1.3 Mwh. Sounds like a lot, yeah? Except it's over ~250 days, so that 1300 kwh is more like 5 kwh/day (which is lower most days and higher when we take road trips). That's a couple loads of clothes in the dryer a day.

Do you worry the grid will fail because suddenly everyone will go home and do a couple loads of laundry? No? Then don't worry about EVs too much. Yes, we may need to increase grid capacity, but  it is unlikely to be a catastrophic failure sort of thing.

Plus most EVs will charge at home at night and that's not peak power demand.

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NorCal

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #21 on: April 07, 2022, 06:48:36 AM »
- 2/3/100 car households - do you play musical chairs to charge them all or do you build a bigger garage, multiple charging stations, more power required from the grid.
- power distribution infrastructure (I think this is one of the biggest) - I am 99% sure our distribution infrastructure can't support everyone going EV. A lot of carbon footprint for improving it I think.
- power production (this might be the biggest) - again I am 99% sure we don't have enough power production capability for everyone to go EV - even for "clean" energy sources there is a carbon footprint for building new facilities to harvest that clean energy and I don't know how fast that can be offset by the rest of the benefits of EVs.

You're thinking like a gas car where you go to a station and fill it up from empty.

We've had our EV since July. Call it 8.5 months. In that time it has gone 4000 miles. Call it 3 mi/kwh. That's 1300 kwh, total, to run it (cost: ~= $130). 1.3 Mwh. Sounds like a lot, yeah? Except it's over ~250 days, so that 1300 kwh is more like 5 kwh/day (which is lower most days and higher when we take road trips). That's a couple loads of clothes in the dryer a day.

Do you worry the grid will fail because suddenly everyone will go home and do a couple loads of laundry? No? Then don't worry about EVs too much. Yes, we may need to increase grid capacity, but  it is unlikely to be a catastrophic failure sort of thing.

Plus most EVs will charge at home at night and that's not peak power demand.

Here's a recent article on the topic: https://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/full/10.1063/PT.3.4978

Bottom line, this is largely a non-issue.  There are some challenges with it, but they're not unsolvable challenges.

In fact, most of the challenges are more "micro level" challenges that are all solvable, but not free to solve.  For example, if a couple people on your block have an EV, there isn't an issue.  But you might hit the maximum capacity of the transformer powering your block if everyone has an EV.  The utility will need to upgrade the transformer.

There are similar issues with the siting of DC Fast Chargers and larger charging deployments for fleet vehicles or apartment buildings.  These chargers can quickly max out the capacity of the local infrastructure, including the medium-duty power lines serving some locations.

But you also have to remember, these sites are a revenue opportunity for the utilities as well.  There's a lot of money that's being paid to oil & gas companies that is about to shift to electrical utilities.  It's completely reasonable to expect some of this revenue windfall to go into the infrastructure needed to support it.  Presuming your state utility regulator isn't completely out to lunch (although some certainly are).

Tester

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2022, 09:03:00 AM »
I won't quote to not lengthen the post too much.
The above is exactly what I was talking about: some things need to change for all of us to finally replace ICEs with EVs.
I am not concerned with catastrophic failure (unfortunately we are not replacing the ICEs fast enough to trigger those), I am interested to understand the carbon footprint of modifying the power distribution and the power production, plus other changes each family will need to make to get to the 100% EVs.

Also, if all people will buy 300/500 miles range EVs and drive them for 60 miles/day the carbon reduction will be slower than buying a vehicle with a smaller battery because of the cost (so less people going EV quickly) and perhaps convenience too (I think more people would be ok with a 50/60 miles plug in hybrid than a 200 miles EV for now).

I am still hoping the EV adoption will ramp up and most importantly that the commercial/transportation solutions will also switch to much cleaner solutions (EV?).

bacchi

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2022, 09:53:33 AM »
I've seen a number of studies on this in the news created by various sources.  They each vary, depending on what they assume the vehicle usage and electricity profile would be.  Most of the articles seem to put the "carbon payback" period at about 2-3 years (if I remember correctly).  So it's not as bad as the anti-EV crowd makes it out to be.

One thing I'm really excited about is the introduction of low-carbon steel into automaking.  BMW and Volvo are experimenting with it.  While I don't plan on buying a BMW or Volvo, I hope they're successful enough that other manufacturers copy the process.  I assume we'd see it in EV's first, as it fits in more with the branding.

To add to this,

Quote from: https://blog.ucsusa.org/dave-reichmuth/are-electric-vehicles-really-better-for-the-climate-yes-heres-why/
In our initial assessment [2012 report using 2009 data], less than half the US lived where an EV produced fewer emissions than a 50 mpg car, while now nearly all of the US falls in that category.
[...]
Electricity from coal has fallen from 45% to 28% in less than a decade. At the same time, solar and wind electricity has grown from less than 2% to 8% in 2018.
(bolded)

Wisconsin or Illinois/Missouri? A Prius vs a Leaf is a wash. Anywhere else in the US? Pretty much any EV is better than an ICE.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2022, 10:30:12 AM by bacchi »

nereo

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #24 on: April 07, 2022, 11:53:25 AM »
a 2012 report using 2009 data when discussing power generation and EVs?  That's pretty much useless at this point.

bacchi

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #25 on: April 07, 2022, 12:05:30 PM »
a 2012 report using 2009 data when discussing power generation and EVs?  That's pretty much useless at this point.

That was the initial assessment, as mentioned. The blog post was written in 2020 when the 2018 data was released by the EPA.

There's a 2 year lag in grid power sources; at best, as of right now, you can look at 2020 data.

https://www.epa.gov/egrid/power-profiler#/

yachi

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #26 on: April 07, 2022, 03:16:57 PM »
We should not assume that they'll automatically clean up the power grid. As always, money is a factor. Coal was losing prominence for years because Natural Gas was cleaner, and cheap. But when NG prices rose in 2021 (and so far in 2022) it's usage dropped, while coal's usage increased:



Renewables continue to gain acceptance which is great. But fossil fuels are still the two largest generators of electricity in the US by a large margin. When renewables are cheaper and more feasible than fossil fuels they become viable to more than just individuals. But that's very location specific.

I like the bar graph below to balance out the graph you shared.  It illustrates that while you can't assume electricity providers will use cleaner natural gas over dirtier coal, the steady march of renewables is taking away market share from both of them. 



It's more than just acceptance.  Many electricity providers are showing a preference for renewable energy projects over coal ones.  Berkshire Hathaway Energy for example, currently generates 48% of their electricity from renewable and noncarbon sources.  Since 2005, they've shut down 16 coal generation units.  They plan to shut down another 16 units between 2022 and 2030.  They then plan on eliminating all remaining coal units by 2049 and all natural gas units by 2050.

You're right that renewable energy is very location specific, which is why there's a need for transmission project to get electricity from sunny, windy parts of the country to locations of higher demand.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of other utilities that don't have the money to pay for upgrades that make sense - transmission lines to connect different areas of the country, massive wind investments - because they're too buys paying dividends to investors.



nereo

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #27 on: April 07, 2022, 05:34:33 PM »
The graphs also do not reflect the difference between capacity andgeneration.
Total capacity for coal energy production (that is, the total amount of power which could be generated by coal) has continued to decrease y/y. The apparent uptick in 2021/2022 is because more coal plants were running at or near capacity as energy demand came roaring back and the cost of natural gas and oil climbed. The grid needed power and coal was what was immediately available. Put another way, the all-time low for coal in 2020 was both part of a decades-long trend combined with an abnormally low total power demand.  But as indicated by yachi (and reflected in the total number of coal power plants, active and planned) the trend wil continue downward for the foreseeable future.

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #28 on: April 07, 2022, 05:59:25 PM »
Solar is the cheapest power to install today. By a long shot it takes almost no engineering or infrastructure just land. Coal and natural gas are still dominant due to America's stalling the build of nukes and bc they were already built so regardless of the cost to install they are there and can be turned up for power.  Natural gas is currently the crutch for renewables due to most peaker plants being natural gas.  You can take a megaton coal plant from half capacity or near off to full capacity in the minutes it takes for the sun to cross the horizon. 

Maybe some day there. Will be solar power transmitted across the world like how data centers turn on in the dark bc of heat. Or maybe data center hear supplements night power requirements. Lots of interesting solutions but I think solar is a major part of clean energy moving forward and the us could be free of fossil fuels and exporting it all to Europe right now had we invested in nukes 15 years ago.

nereo

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #29 on: April 07, 2022, 06:09:20 PM »
As the recent IPCC report makes clear, we have the capacity under current technology to be predominately renewables on a global, we just need the investment and the commitment.

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #30 on: April 07, 2022, 10:20:49 PM »
Reporting on a grid basis is suspicious to say the least. Since regulatory control for power plants exists at the state level, not the grid level, it seems much more appropriate to report on that basis. Going with grids lets bad actors hide among the good and, interestingly, uniquely takes a dump on Illinois due to the shape of the grids and "geo"politics of the co-gridded states.

Nationally, the US is 40% gas, 20% coal, 20% nuclear, and 20% renewables. Illinois' mix is 14/18/58/10. Of course, the neighbors in the grids are states like Missouri (71%), Indiana (53%), Ohio (37%), and it even looks like parts of West Virginia (88%).

I would have expected better from the UCS about how they work with reporting data.

Sources:
* https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/electricity/electricity-in-the-us-generation-capacity-and-sales.php
* https://www.nei.org/resources/statistics/state-electricity-generation-fuel-shares

bill1827

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #31 on: April 08, 2022, 12:57:04 PM »
I happened across this YouTube video rant today "THE BIG EV LIE. Why They Won't Save the Planet & All About Dirty Electricity"  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sytWLB4-W-M  It's well worth watching.

It's from a self confessed petrol head, but to me it seems well balanced, well researched and accurate (until he mentions hydrogen) and he's suitably scathing about politicians. At about 9' in he even gives the Mustachian option, buy a small, reliable, efficient ICE car and run it into the ground.

I came across it as I'm in the process of buying an EV and have been doing lots of internet research. Of course, I'm buying the vehicle for emotional not rational reasons; I've wanted an EV ever since the Leaf appeared, but they were neither affordable nor practical. They're still not affordable, nor very practical if you do lots of miles, but as I'm retired and do very little driving practicality is no longer a concern. It is, of course a very stupid thing to do. The car that it's replacing is a very efficient diesel that I've had for 10 years. It averages 60 miles per (UK) gallon and can do over 80 on a long main road run with a range of well over 800 miles. Official CO2 emissions 99g/km.

The economic and environmental rational option would be to keep the old car.


bacchi

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #32 on: April 08, 2022, 01:46:09 PM »
Reporting on a grid basis is suspicious to say the least. Since regulatory control for power plants exists at the state level, not the grid level, it seems much more appropriate to report on that basis. Going with grids lets bad actors hide among the good and, interestingly, uniquely takes a dump on Illinois due to the shape of the grids and "geo"politics of the co-gridded states.

Nationally, the US is 40% gas, 20% coal, 20% nuclear, and 20% renewables. Illinois' mix is 14/18/58/10. Of course, the neighbors in the grids are states like Missouri (71%), Indiana (53%), Ohio (37%), and it even looks like parts of West Virginia (88%).

I would have expected better from the UCS about how they work with reporting data.

Sources:
* https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/electricity/electricity-in-the-us-generation-capacity-and-sales.php
* https://www.nei.org/resources/statistics/state-electricity-generation-fuel-shares

UCS uses data from the subregion level, from the EPA, which seems entirely appropriate since sub/grids rarely end at the state line.

Is this because of what I wrote about Wisconsin and Illinois? Yeah, I was generalizing to the state level. To be more specific, driving a Prius is better than the average EV* in the SERC Midwest subregion. Driving an EV is better in RFC West, which includes Chicago and Milwaukee and Green Bay.

This is more accurate than a blanket statement, "Driving an EV in Illinois is always better!"


* A below average EV would be the e-tron. An above average EV would be the Model 3.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2022, 01:58:38 PM by bacchi »

mtnrider

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #33 on: April 08, 2022, 02:39:30 PM »
I happened across this YouTube video rant today "THE BIG EV LIE. Why They Won't Save the Planet & All About Dirty Electricity"  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sytWLB4-W-M  It's well worth watching.

It's from a self confessed petrol head, but to me it seems well balanced, well researched and accurate (until he mentions hydrogen) and he's suitably scathing about politicians. At about 9' in he even gives the Mustachian option, buy a small, reliable, efficient ICE car and run it into the ground.

I came across it as I'm in the process of buying an EV and have been doing lots of internet research. Of course, I'm buying the vehicle for emotional not rational reasons; I've wanted an EV ever since the Leaf appeared, but they were neither affordable nor practical. They're still not affordable, nor very practical if you do lots of miles, but as I'm retired and do very little driving practicality is no longer a concern. It is, of course a very stupid thing to do. The car that it's replacing is a very efficient diesel that I've had for 10 years. It averages 60 miles per (UK) gallon and can do over 80 on a long main road run with a range of well over 800 miles. Official CO2 emissions 99g/km.

The economic and environmental rational option would be to keep the old car.

I don't disagree with this most of this guy's evaluation and I especially agree that consumerism is a bigger problem.

But maybe obvious oversights in the video about EVs:

1. He's talking about the UK, but in the US, electricity production varies by state, states I've lived in recently have had more than 60% renewable or nuclear.  At night when cars are charged, nuclear would often be doing the job.  But yeah, when I first bought my last car, I didn't go EV because it would have been a coal and natural gas powered machine due to the state's electricity production.
2. The argument about battery components is specious, given that drilling has the same issues, and worse.
3. Many people I know who have purchased an EV also bought solar panels, I suspect this is common.


Disclaimer: As a former "petrol head" I find gas cars, trucks, and motorcycles annoyingly loud.  And that with all those moving parts, they are an maintenance headache. 

nereo

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #34 on: April 08, 2022, 04:29:16 PM »

I came across it as I'm in the process of buying an EV and have been doing lots of internet research. Of course, I'm buying the vehicle for emotional not rational reasons; I've wanted an EV ever since the Leaf appeared, but they were neither affordable nor practical. They're still not affordable, nor very practical if you do lots of miles, but as I'm retired and do very little driving practicality is no longer a concern. It is, of course a very stupid thing to do. The car that it's replacing is a very efficient diesel that I've had for 10 years. It averages 60 miles per (UK) gallon and can do over 80 on a long main road run with a range of well over 800 miles. Official CO2 emissions 99g/km.

The economic and environmental rational option would be to keep the old car.

Can’t say I agree with most of what you’ve said here, particularly as it pertains to the US market

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #35 on: April 08, 2022, 09:46:43 PM »
UCS uses data from the subregion level, from the EPA, which seems entirely appropriate since sub/grids rarely end at the state line.

If Illinois was a net importer of electricity, there'd be an argument for the grid thing. It isn't though, with 197 Twh generated vs 143 Twh used (2016 numbers via google, via energy.gov).

Since regulations on plants is state level, presenting data to discourage EVs in Illinois, where the generation is pretty clean seems shortsighted compared to discouraging EVs in the neighboring, "dirty" states. If EVs are sexy and status symbols, then club the bad actor states with that label, rather than letting people feel good about their EVs there. Maybe that'll be enough to get folks otherwise on the fence or indifferent to demand a different regulatory environment for power generation to clean up their state.

NorCal

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #36 on: April 08, 2022, 09:46:59 PM »
Reporting on a grid basis is suspicious to say the least. Since regulatory control for power plants exists at the state level, not the grid level, it seems much more appropriate to report on that basis. Going with grids lets bad actors hide among the good and, interestingly, uniquely takes a dump on Illinois due to the shape of the grids and "geo"politics of the co-gridded states.

Nationally, the US is 40% gas, 20% coal, 20% nuclear, and 20% renewables. Illinois' mix is 14/18/58/10. Of course, the neighbors in the grids are states like Missouri (71%), Indiana (53%), Ohio (37%), and it even looks like parts of West Virginia (88%).

I would have expected better from the UCS about how they work with reporting data.

Sources:
* https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/electricity/electricity-in-the-us-generation-capacity-and-sales.php
* https://www.nei.org/resources/statistics/state-electricity-generation-fuel-shares

UCS uses data from the subregion level, from the EPA, which seems entirely appropriate since sub/grids rarely end at the state line.

Is this because of what I wrote about Wisconsin and Illinois? Yeah, I was generalizing to the state level. To be more specific, driving a Prius is better than the average EV* in the SERC Midwest subregion. Driving an EV is better in RFC West, which includes Chicago and Milwaukee and Green Bay.

This is more accurate than a blanket statement, "Driving an EV in Illinois is always better!"


* A below average EV would be the e-tron. An above average EV would be the Model 3.

There are many ways to count the carbon intensity of your electricity. Most people do it by believing what they want to believe.

Here’s how I think of it in terms of relevance:
1. Start with your local utility. Mine publishes their carbon intensity, although it took some digging to find it. Your utility is the one making contractual commitments for electricity purchases, so this is the most relevant.
2. If that’s not available, go with your states numbers. While plenty of electricity does flow across state lines, the incentives put in place by your state PUC have a major impact on what powers your home. This is very political, and worth paying attention to anyways.

As for whether an EV or hybrid is better, I think we can all agree that it depends on individual assumptions. Just do the math for yourself. The arithmetic is quite simple if you can look up the numbers.  Where you live and what you plan to drive makes a difference. 

But I’ll argue that it doesn’t make much of a difference to the big picture as long as you’re prioritizing something that is a material emissions improvement on your next vehicle. While your individual purchase will save a few tons of emissions, corporate America pays a LOT of attention to consumer demand. The more people buy hybrids/EV’s/heat pumps/ solar, etc, the more they will invest in these markets. Consumer demand builds scale, which builds efficiencies. The more people start buying these products, the sooner they will become “mass market” products.  And the more people start buying these products, the sooner the lobbying balance of power shifts to clean energy producers and away from oil/gas.  It just takes a couple percentage points of consumers to shift their preference in order to build momentum for major change.


AccidentialMustache

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #37 on: April 08, 2022, 10:24:20 PM »
I happened across this YouTube video rant today "THE BIG EV LIE. Why They Won't Save the Planet & All About Dirty Electricity"

I'd approach with lots of suspicion. His definition of climate change is trash a few minutes in. Yes, el nino and la nina mess with the temperature and rainfall in the US (and elsewhere) on an annual basis. That isn't climate change. That's weather. Climate change is over the long term, so lumping a short term (think 1-2 years) event into "the long term" should instantly raise your suspicions of the dude's credibility, no matter how credible he claims his sources are.

Same thing with the reference to the sun's energy output. That's an 11 year cycle. Also it is a whopping 2 watts per meter squared out of a baseline of 1360 w/m2. So, like, less than 0.2%. Will that impact the weather in a minimum vs maximum year? Hell yes. Will it impact climate over 100 years? Hell no.

Yes the sun has a longer term power increase as it heads to red giant stage and the end of planet earth (swallowed by the sun) but that's a scale of millions of years, not the last couple hundred since we hairless apes learned to light banked sunlight on fire for fun and profit.

Ref for both solar statements: https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-incoming-sunlight

And then skipping a bunch of other things one might quibble with, he talks about how leases make the problems with conflict minerals/etc (... as if oil from the gulf has clean hands in terms of human rights, but we'll ignore that for now) while completely ignoring that a car going off-lease doesn't magically cease to exist and is instead likely to be sold to someone else at a lower cost with well more than 90% of its useful life left.

There's an argument to be made that ramping up demand is going to make conflict minerals worse, but then again higher demand, higher prices, you'll start finding and developing new sources or new processes of extracting existing sources. See also fracking. While that has its own huge share of issues, it is a large part of the decline of coal in the US. In terms of CO2 in the atmosphere, that's still "progress" as weird as that feels to say.

He's got a slant, despite his assurances otherwise.

bill1827

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #38 on: April 09, 2022, 02:07:21 AM »

I came across it as I'm in the process of buying an EV and have been doing lots of internet research. Of course, I'm buying the vehicle for emotional not rational reasons; I've wanted an EV ever since the Leaf appeared, but they were neither affordable nor practical. They're still not affordable, nor very practical if you do lots of miles, but as I'm retired and do very little driving practicality is no longer a concern. It is, of course a very stupid thing to do. The car that it's replacing is a very efficient diesel that I've had for 10 years. It averages 60 miles per (UK) gallon and can do over 80 on a long main road run with a range of well over 800 miles. Official CO2 emissions 99g/km.

The economic and environmental rational option would be to keep the old car.

Can’t say I agree with most of what you’ve said here, particularly as it pertains to the US market

Which bit, the affordability or the practicality?

In the UK EVs are about 50% more expensive than their IC equivalent, for "affordable" models, even after government subsidies. That's probably different in the US.

Practicality is much better than it was when I first started looking at EVs, there are more charging points now, but it's still an issue. We regularly do a drive of over 200 miles which we usually do without a break. The EV that I'm buying has a realistic range of about 170 miles, which mean there will be a forced stop of at least 3/4 of an hour adding 25% to the journey time. Charging points don't generally seem to sited in places where it is pleasant to while away your time. Yes, there are longer range EVs, but they are significantly more expensive (and less efficient as they have to drag around more mass).

As I understand it there a few places in the US where the distance between charging points is greater than the range of the longest range EV.

Anther issue over here is mass adoption and no parking. Many households do not have off street parking, so many residential roads are lined with parked cars and trailing cables across the footpath is something of a hazard for pedestrians. At the moment it is very difficult to envisage a solution to the problem of charging multiple on street cars with no charging points. Solutions may be found, but not for a while.

Yes things have improved, but it's still only a conscience pleasing option for the affluent and doesn't address over consumption of resources in any way.

bill1827

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #39 on: April 09, 2022, 02:13:41 AM »
I happened across this YouTube video rant today "THE BIG EV LIE. Why They Won't Save the Planet & All About Dirty Electricity"

I'd approach with lots of suspicion. His definition of climate change is trash a few minutes in. Yes, el nino and la nina mess with the temperature and rainfall in the US (and elsewhere) on an annual basis. That isn't climate change. That's weather. Climate change is over the long term, so lumping a short term (think 1-2 years) event into "the long term" should instantly raise your suspicions of the dude's credibility, no matter how credible he claims his sources are.

Same thing with the reference to the sun's energy output. That's an 11 year cycle. Also it is a whopping 2 watts per meter squared out of a baseline of 1360 w/m2. So, like, less than 0.2%. Will that impact the weather in a minimum vs maximum year? Hell yes. Will it impact climate over 100 years? Hell no.

Yes the sun has a longer term power increase as it heads to red giant stage and the end of planet earth (swallowed by the sun) but that's a scale of millions of years, not the last couple hundred since we hairless apes learned to light banked sunlight on fire for fun and profit.

Ref for both solar statements: https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-incoming-sunlight

And then skipping a bunch of other things one might quibble with, he talks about how leases make the problems with conflict minerals/etc (... as if oil from the gulf has clean hands in terms of human rights, but we'll ignore that for now) while completely ignoring that a car going off-lease doesn't magically cease to exist and is instead likely to be sold to someone else at a lower cost with well more than 90% of its useful life left.

There's an argument to be made that ramping up demand is going to make conflict minerals worse, but then again higher demand, higher prices, you'll start finding and developing new sources or new processes of extracting existing sources. See also fracking. While that has its own huge share of issues, it is a large part of the decline of coal in the US. In terms of CO2 in the atmosphere, that's still "progress" as weird as that feels to say.

He's got a slant, despite his assurances otherwise.

Of course he has a slant, we all do, but I though that he made a very well balanced case for a car enthusiast.

I think that you are quibbling over irrelevancies while missing his main point, that cars are relatively minor consumers of energy in the big scheme of things and that converting to EVs isn't going to reduce fossil fuel consumption significantly.

NorCal

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #40 on: April 09, 2022, 07:06:59 AM »

Of course he has a slant, we all do, but I though that he made a very well balanced case for a car enthusiast.

I think that you are quibbling over irrelevancies while missing his main point, that cars are relatively minor consumers of energy in the big scheme of things and that converting to EVs isn't going to reduce fossil fuel consumption significantly.

Yea, that's not a slant, that's complete BS.

Transportation  makes up about 29% of US GHG emissions (source: https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions).  That is the largest category of emissions, which is followed by electricity at 25%.  It is mathematically impossible to slow global warming without major emissions reductions in both those sectors.

I've read a few things on this topic that have helped me understand climate change and the path required to slow it down.  The two that I found the most valuable are:

1. How to Prevent a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates.  He does a very good job of tackling the problem by the numbers.  It's not the same emotional/reactional take you get elsewhere.
Link: https://www.amazon.com/How-Avoid-Climate-Disaster-Breakthroughs-ebook/dp/B07YRY461Y/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1649509040&sr=8-1

2. The most recent IPCC Summary Report for policy makers.  I started out as a climate change skeptic, thinking that it was overblown hype and hyperbole.  Reading the IPCC report helped me understand what scientists know and what they don't know.  The report goes to extra efforts to say how confident the scientific community is about certain aspects of climate change.  They also do a good job of presenting the likely range of future outcomes, as opposed to the single doomsday scenarios you find in the media.  The reading can be a bit dense and technical, but it is well worth it.
Link: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/#SPM

nereo

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #41 on: April 09, 2022, 08:58:44 AM »

I came across it as I'm in the process of buying an EV and have been doing lots of internet research. Of course, I'm buying the vehicle for emotional not rational reasons; I've wanted an EV ever since the Leaf appeared, but they were neither affordable nor practical. They're still not affordable, nor very practical if you do lots of miles, but as I'm retired and do very little driving practicality is no longer a concern. It is, of course a very stupid thing to do. The car that it's replacing is a very efficient diesel that I've had for 10 years. It averages 60 miles per (UK) gallon and can do over 80 on a long main road run with a range of well over 800 miles. Official CO2 emissions 99g/km.

The economic and environmental rational option would be to keep the old car.

Can’t say I agree with most of what you’ve said here, particularly as it pertains to the US market

Which bit, the affordability or the practicality?

In the UK EVs are about 50% more expensive than their IC equivalent, for "affordable" models, even after government subsidies. That's probably different in the US.

Practicality is much better than it was when I first started looking at EVs, there are more charging points now, but it's still an issue. We regularly do a drive of over 200 miles which we usually do without a break. The EV that I'm buying has a realistic range of about 170 miles, which mean there will be a forced stop of at least 3/4 of an hour adding 25% to the journey time. Charging points don't generally seem to sited in places where it is pleasant to while away your time. Yes, there are longer range EVs, but they are significantly more expensive (and less efficient as they have to drag around more mass).

As I understand it there a few places in the US where the distance between charging points is greater than the range of the longest range EV.

Anther issue over here is mass adoption and no parking. Many households do not have off street parking, so many residential roads are lined with parked cars and trailing cables across the footpath is something of a hazard for pedestrians. At the moment it is very difficult to envisage a solution to the problem of charging multiple on street cars with no charging points. Solutions may be found, but not for a while.

Yes things have improved, but it's still only a conscience pleasing option for the affluent and doesn't address over consumption of resources in any way.

Both actually, as well as the underlying concerns that were already sufficiently covered by AccidentalMustache.

As I prefaced this with earlier, I'm viewing this for the US market - they very may will differ in the UK.  Also, I largely would have agreed with what you said in 2016; today it's a much different landscape for the cost of cars, their range, the charging infrastructure, etc.

Affordability to the customer makes BEVs sufficiently cheaper to own for most consumers, particularly given the federal and state level tax credits and for those who can appropriately use them. The upfront cost for many models with rebates is very close to being on parity to similar ICE models, and as we've discussed the lifetime operational costs are substantially less, particularly with maintenance but also with energy (fuel vs electricity).

Charging also seems to be much better here than what you are describing. Sure, one can find routes where charging is scarce, but those are in some pretty remote places where most people never go. For virtually everywhere else, one can find chargers along their route.  I'll add that it's phenomenal how fast this has changed - three years ago we had to do some planning for longer road trips - in the last two years the speed at which charging stations have come online has been stunning - basically along all of our interstate highway systems, most (all?) rest-stops in our region, almost all car dealerships, most hotels/motels etc. have charging available.

Your  numbers of '170 mile useful range' and '3/4 of an hour to recharge' also seem grounded in specs from cars (and chargers) from several years ago.  Most EVs available within the US have a battery pack option that has a useful range of >250 miles with several offering battery packs well into the 300mi range,  Charging rates are getting much faster too - several models now offer >135kw maximum charging on the DC fast chargers; 20 minutes is enough to bring the battery pack up to 80%, which means you could do your entire hypothetical 200mi round-trip with just a single much shorter stop, not your proposed 2 x 45 minute extended breaks.

The comments about foot-paths and tripping over cables seems like someone trying to find problems where they don't exist. Yes, if you don't have a workplace or regular parking space which has or can have installed a charger it's going to make it more difficult, but certainly not an insurmountable problem or one that needs new, novel solutions. Anywhere you can run a circuit you can install a charger, which includes anywhere there are street-lamps or parking meters - which is almost all public parking spaces. You are also talking about a subset of the population. in my own smallish-city they just finalized a deal to add 200 charging points primarily for apartment dwellers to address exactly this scenario. It requires build-out to be sure, but it's happening at a rapid pace and in my municipality winds up being tax-revenue neutral, as the charging stations are pay-for-use (but, importantly, are still much cheaper per mile than gasoline at current prices).

Paper Chaser

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #42 on: April 09, 2022, 10:23:14 AM »

Of course he has a slant, we all do, but I though that he made a very well balanced case for a car enthusiast.

I think that you are quibbling over irrelevancies while missing his main point, that cars are relatively minor consumers of energy in the big scheme of things and that converting to EVs isn't going to reduce fossil fuel consumption significantly.

Yea, that's not a slant, that's complete BS.

Transportation  makes up about 29% of US GHG emissions (source: https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions).  That is the largest category of emissions, which is followed by electricity at 25%.  It is mathematically impossible to slow global warming without major emissions reductions in both those sectors.

It should be noted that the "Transportation Sector" is made up of light duty personal vehicles, but also commercial vehicles, semis,ships, trains, and planes. Outside of light duty vehicles, most of the others are a very long way from viable electrification. The EPA says that 58% of the GHG emissions in the transportation sector come from light duty vehicles:
https://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/fast-facts-transportation-greenhouse-gas-emissions

So all Light Duty Vehicles represent just under 17% of GHG emissions in the US (58% of the 29% total in the transportation sector). That's not nothing of course, but it's also not like we can just EV our way out of this either. It's going to require lifestyle change and reduced consumption from massive parts of society.

PDXTabs

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #43 on: April 09, 2022, 10:37:46 AM »
I came across it as I'm in the process of buying an EV and have been doing lots of internet research. Of course, I'm buying the vehicle for emotional not rational reasons; I've wanted an EV ever since the Leaf appeared, but they were neither affordable nor practical. They're still not affordable, nor very practical if you do lots of miles, but as I'm retired and do very little driving practicality is no longer a concern. It is, of course a very stupid thing to do. The car that it's replacing is a very efficient diesel that I've had for 10 years. It averages 60 miles per (UK) gallon and can do over 80 on a long main road run with a range of well over 800 miles. Official CO2 emissions 99g/km.

The economic and environmental rational option would be to keep the old car.

I think that it depends what happens to your old car. If someone who was emitting more g/km buys your used car and drives it then everything worked out. Of course ideally the people who emitted the most g/yr would be the ones buying the electric cars and you would find a way to live car-free possibly finding it easy to rent a vehicle when you wanted it.

PDXTabs

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #44 on: April 09, 2022, 10:41:24 AM »
It should be noted that the "Transportation Sector" is made up of light duty personal vehicles, but also commercial vehicles, semis,ships, trains, and planes. Outside of light duty vehicles, most of the others are a very long way from viable electrification. The EPA says that 58% of the GHG emissions in the transportation sector come from light duty vehicles:
https://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/fast-facts-transportation-greenhouse-gas-emissions

So all Light Duty Vehicles represent just under 17% of GHG emissions in the US (58% of the 29% total in the transportation sector). That's not nothing of course, but it's also not like we can just EV our way out of this either. It's going to require lifestyle change and reduced consumption from massive parts of society.

But also, if I buy a car (EV or otherwise) didn't it also contribute to the Electricity, Industry, Commercial, Heavy Transportation (to ship it - more than once), and Residential (if I want to park it) slices?

NorCal

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #45 on: April 09, 2022, 12:01:58 PM »

So all Light Duty Vehicles represent just under 17% of GHG emissions in the US (58% of the 29% total in the transportation sector). That's not nothing of course, but it's also not like we can just EV our way out of this either. It's going to require lifestyle change and reduced consumption from massive parts of society.

I think it’s completely fair to say that electrification of consumer vehicles is necessary, but not sufficient on its own.

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #46 on: April 09, 2022, 12:09:06 PM »

I think it’s completely fair to say that electrification of consumer vehicles is necessary, but not sufficient on its own.
That’sa good way of putting it. Switching over from ICE to EVs is absolutely necessary, but on its own insufficient. It’s also not going to happen in a year or three, but hopefully most will be EVs within a decade. We do need to address total consumption, import export our power portfolio, tackle building inefficiencies in a major way and halt the whole scale degradation of large ecosystems.

We need more ICE to become EVs… but it’s just one thing of many we need to do

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #47 on: April 09, 2022, 09:29:49 PM »
Of course he has a slant, we all do, but I though that he made a very well balanced case for a car enthusiast.

I think that you are quibbling over irrelevancies while missing his main point, that cars are relatively minor consumers of energy in the big scheme of things and that converting to EVs isn't going to reduce fossil fuel consumption significantly.

I haven't missed his point. He's proven he can't understand the problems he's talking about and this you should ignore his point, because either it is based on flawed reasoning/data, or he is actively trying to push a non-balanced viewpoint while claiming to be "fair and balanced." In either case, you shouldn't be trusting his data or conclusions. At best he's a fool with the dunning-kruger effect. At worst he's outright lying and spreading intentional misinformation.

I'm sure the UK has less emissions from transportation than the US. You have a better public transit system (... eg, you have one, vs a lot of the US that doesn't) and the whole of the UK just isn't that big.

I didn't even address that grids are rapidly cleaning up, which he conveniently completely ignores, because wind/solar/etc are the cheapest power generation to install. As they get better, so do EVs. Those occasional days where some country gets all the power it needs from renewables? What's the CO2 of an EV on those days? Will the ICE car *ever* get better than it was the day it was made?
« Last Edit: April 11, 2022, 07:18:43 PM by AccidentialMustache »

mtnrider

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #48 on: April 11, 2022, 09:15:03 AM »

I think it’s completely fair to say that electrification of consumer vehicles is necessary, but not sufficient on its own.
That’sa good way of putting it. Switching over from ICE to EVs is absolutely necessary, but on its own insufficient. It’s also not going to happen in a year or three, but hopefully most will be EVs within a decade. We do need to address total consumption, import export our power portfolio, tackle building inefficiencies in a major way and halt the whole scale degradation of large ecosystems.

We need more ICE to become EVs… but it’s just one thing of many we need to do

^^^^ I see this as the best takeaway. 

Yes, buy an EV for your next car, but know that it's only one part of the problem.  Better would be well-used public transportation, living closer to work, consuming less, flying less, etc...  Of all these, the easiest one to address without lifestyle change is EVs.

Most "petrol heads" I talk to in person say they'll give up their gas cars when industry becomes more efficient.  Who's ultimately consuming things from industry?

Aside, does anyone have a pointer to an easy to understand source about what an individual can do, ranked?   And how high up is an EV?   And also the full breakdown of climate change sources, ranked.

NorCal

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Re: Is now the time to buy an EV?
« Reply #49 on: April 11, 2022, 01:16:19 PM »

I think it’s completely fair to say that electrification of consumer vehicles is necessary, but not sufficient on its own.
That’sa good way of putting it. Switching over from ICE to EVs is absolutely necessary, but on its own insufficient. It’s also not going to happen in a year or three, but hopefully most will be EVs within a decade. We do need to address total consumption, import export our power portfolio, tackle building inefficiencies in a major way and halt the whole scale degradation of large ecosystems.

We need more ICE to become EVs… but it’s just one thing of many we need to do

^^^^ I see this as the best takeaway. 

Yes, buy an EV for your next car, but know that it's only one part of the problem.  Better would be well-used public transportation, living closer to work, consuming less, flying less, etc...  Of all these, the easiest one to address without lifestyle change is EVs.

Most "petrol heads" I talk to in person say they'll give up their gas cars when industry becomes more efficient.  Who's ultimately consuming things from industry?

Aside, does anyone have a pointer to an easy to understand source about what an individual can do, ranked?   And how high up is an EV?   And also the full breakdown of climate change sources, ranked.

I've read up on this a bit.  The short answer is that it varies heavily by family.  Different people's lifestyle's create incredibly different emissions footprints.

On the bright side, it's fairly easy to measure with some excel skills or online calculators. 

I created a challenge on this topic a couple months ago.  The math and the challenge are on this thread: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/budget-your-emissions-like-your-finances!/msg2987383/#msg2987383.  Feel free to join in!

In my case, I measured household emissions of about 23,000lbs in 2020.  Some of my random measurements:

1. Fixing an inefficient water recirculating system and switching from a gas water heater to a heat pump variety reduced my household footprint by about 5,000lbs.  However, this had such a big impact because the prior system was incredibly inefficient, and my local utilities electricity is cleaner than burning natural gas.  It was still a household project that had a financial IRR of 20%+ as a mostly DIY project.

2. Switching from our current car to an EV would probably save about 3,000lbs of emissions in the first year, but the savings would increase as our electricity gets cleaner.  I also plan to get a bigger solar system in the future, so I see this as something that would enable near-zero emissions driving in the future.

3. I'm getting a whole-house fan installed this year.  While it's partly for home comfort to cool our upstairs, my guesstimate is that it will save 500-1000lbs of emissions each year, while providing a 5-7% financial return before inflation.  These numbers are preliminary though, as I don't know exactly how much it will reduce our AC usage.