Electric vehicles (EVs), their emissions, and future viability

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Nuje

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To nayr's point above, having only ever barely broken spending $20K for a car, I was a little apprehensive to drop over $30K on the used A3 e-tron we found. But damn - every time I get to drive that car (which is used almost exclusively as our around-town car....and my wife goes - or went, back in the "before" times - around town a lot more than I do), I compliment myself on what a great find that car is/was.

Looks great, both inside and out; great seats and view lines; never have to put gas in it unless we go out of town; drives and handles like a sporty little car (as much as we want); and if we did have the need to drive it 1000km, you wouldn't even think twice - you just get in and go. Gets around 6.2L/100km out on the freeways (my Mk7 TDI GSW is about 5.5L/100km) from it's nicely tuned ~150hp 1.4L TSI.

I don't know what happens when the battery nears its end-of-life, but I figure at worst we have a nice-looking, low mileage A3 sportback with a 1.4L TSI.
 
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IndigoBlueWagon

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Fair points. I was looking for a more apples to apples comparison in terms of being three year old cars, one ICE the other one EV.

Ok, I realize many of us like the build quality of a German vehicle like VW. I own one and intend to keep it as long as safely possible. But for the sake of argument let's put that aside and not concentrate on a certain brand vs a potential comparable EV competition. Shall we?
You could compare apples to apples, but a 3 year-old EV's utility is limited enough that you don't need a similar age ICE vehicle to do the same task. Also, people talk about how cheap used EVs are, but what's out there, really? Leaf, Fiat 500, Smart...are there others?

Taking a quick look on cars.com, you can get a 3 year-old Fiat 500 without crazy high mileage for $6-7K. The 500e is about the same price. So then it's just a choice of what you prefer: for low mileage driving operating costs probably aren't that much different. And if you want (or need) to add the capability to charge at home, the EV just became the more expensive option.
 

El Dobro

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You could compare apples to apples, but a 3 year-old EV's utility is limited enough that you don't need a similar age ICE vehicle to do the same task. Also, people talk about how cheap used EVs are, but what's out there, really? Leaf, Fiat 500, Smart...are there others?
There's also the Spark EV and the sell them as fast as they get them.
https://www.carvana.com/cars/chevrolet-spark-ev
 

IndigoBlueWagon

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Why buy a 3 year old electric when you can get a new one for $1K more BEFORE you start negotiating. And with GMAC 84 month 0% financing. And better yet, a manual transmission.
 

turbobrick240

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Why buy a 3 year old electric when you can get a new one for $1K more BEFORE you start negotiating. And with GMAC 84 month 0% financing. And better yet, a manual transmission.
Because you value clean air and a healthy environment for your children, family and neighbors. Economics are important, but not everything in life can be distilled down to a dollar value. It's the same reason many folks are happy to pay marginally more for electricity generated from renewable sources, organic produce, etc.
 

El Dobro

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Yikes, they have 20 used Spark EV's for sale in the Savannah GA area - way more than if they were "flying off the shelves."
Six of those already have sales pending. Mine was a California car, but they brought it up from Georgia.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

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Not an EV Spark, ICE.

Because you value clean air and a healthy environment for your children, family and neighbors. Economics are important, but not everything in life can be distilled down to a dollar value. It's the same reason many folks are happy to pay marginally more for electricity generated from renewable sources, organic produce, etc.
If someone's concerned about these issues the impact of vehicle selection is pretty far down the list. Someone could make a much bigger impact by, say, flying less or moving to a more energy efficient house. Or investing in getting representatives elected that care about climate change. Just a couple examples. It wouldn't be hard to make a pretty long list.

We could debate endlessly about whether or not driving an EV, especially for local use (read: low miles), is cleaner than the variety of other options available. But I'd settle for believing that, at best, the difference in environmental impact is minimal.
 

El Dobro

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Why buy a 3 year old electric when you can get a new one for $1K more BEFORE you start negotiating. And with GMAC 84 month 0% financing. And better yet, a manual transmission.
Quite simple in my case, because I wanted an EV, not a gasser. ;)
 

Tin Man

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At least for the time being, driving a gasser has no extra impact on the environment since gasoline is in over-supply and a byproduct of distillate production (s/a diesel). EVs, however, are "fueled" predominately by natural gas-generated electricity, which has a big impact on climate change through escaping methane during procurement and storage of natural gas. Never mind the data that minimizes the effect of current tailpipe emissions when compared to emissions from coal and roadside dust etc.
 

bhtooefr

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Note that roadside dust emissions may well be lower for EVs than ICE-only cars (and, frankly, most hybrids, too) due to regenerative braking.

And, in many areas, it is possible to select a rate plan that offsets your usage with renewables, as I've done.
 

wxman

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Regenerative braking would likely reduce brake wear PM emissions considerably. However, the typically heavier weight of EVs may result in higher tire and road surface wear than ICEVs, which may partially if not completely offset the reduced brake wear emissions. See https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/assets/...90709_Non_Exhaust_Emissions_typeset_Final.pdf pages 69-70.

At any rate, exhaust PM emissions are becoming a smaller and smaller portion of PM emissions from vehicle operations (see Figures 2&3 on page 25 of UK report referenced above).
 

wxman

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There's another study that suggests that some tires (highly variable) may be a significant source of high-molecular-weight PAHs, some of which are carcinogenic - https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/es204257d

According to a paper published by CARB staff in 2015 (Propper et al., "Ambient and Emission Trends of Toxic Air Contaminants in California." Environ. Sci. Technol. 2015, 49, 11329−11339, https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.5b02766 , ambient diesel particulate matter (DPM) concentration in the Southern California Air Basis (SoCAB) was <0.6 µg/m3 in 2012 (Figure 2).

EPA staff scientists estimate that DPM from on-road mobile sources will be "population-weighted average" of ~0.06 µg/m3 in 2025 (Table 4), which is <25% of the average concentration of TRPW concluded in the TRWP paper. Even taking diesel PM precursors (NOx & SOX) into account, the concentration contribution of on-road diesel vehicles (HD and LD) will be 0.125 µg/m3 - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969718337239

It may be that TRWP is not as toxic as DPM, although it's not really apparent why that would be. Nevertheless, direct PM from diesel vehicles is becoming less and less significant.
 

tikal

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Why buy a 3 year old electric when you can get a new one for $1K more BEFORE you start negotiating. And with GMAC 84 month 0% financing. And better yet, a manual transmission.
There could be, a non-marginal segment of the population, that 95% or more of the time drive less than 75 miles a day and all those miles tend to be short trips in an urban/suburban environment. I can see that the fact that you do not produce tailpipe emissions in urban and congested areas (for example going to pick up/drop off kids at school) and you can do all the idling you want without emissions is definitively a plus.

For this specific segment of the population, and as compared to the majority of gasoline vehicles without a GPF (gas particulate filter), your are doing yourself a favor and to your community, by reducing interaction of tailpipe emissions and close by pedestrians and passengers. Also you are not concerned about 'short-tripping' your gasoline powered car. In this way, a three year old EV for $12K that has a generous battery warranty might be worth considering not only from an environmental point of view bur also from an economical point of view.
 

turbobrick240

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Jeff Dahn and his disciples are definitely a critical part of Tesla's battery development program. So are Maxwell and the outfit in Colorado that Tesla acquired. The breakthroughs being made in the field are going to change the auto industry immensely over the next several years.
 

tikal

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EV premium cost breakthrough?

Indeed. If any auto manufacturer manages by 2025 to bring a desirable EV that has a premium of no more than 10% with similar range to the equivalent ICE vehicle, then the market will be impacted significantly in my view.
 

nicklockard

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Indeed. If any auto manufacturer manages by 2025 to bring a desirable EV that has a premium of no more than 10% with similar range to the equivalent ICE vehicle, then the market will be impacted significantly in my view.

I'm going out on this limb here:

It's not possible with current and near-term battery technology for a pure electric to achieve your goal above.
Structural element batteries would make it possible--but no one has cracked that nut yet. It *can* be done, but only in non-FMVSS compliant vehicle classes, IMO.

However, a series electric hybrid can EASILY exceed your goal, but for some reason we've given up on them.
 

nayr

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Audi PHEV Q5e is faster than the Audi SQ5, and is priced pretty much the same, mebe less after discount.. tis the first one I've desired, all the benefits of EV grocery getting, no range anxiety.
 

tikal

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I'm going out on this limb here:

It's not possible with current and near-term battery technology for a pure electric to achieve your goal above.
Structural element batteries would make it possible--but no one has cracked that nut yet. It *can* be done, but only in non-FMVSS compliant vehicle classes, IMO.

However, a series electric hybrid can EASILY exceed your goal, but for some reason we've given up on them.
Yes but the bummer is that I am still dealing with the complexity of an ICE being married to an electrical system.

I guess a midsize road EV with a cargo similar to my Passat wagon and 400 miles range for no more than $35K is still in a distant future :-(
 

kjclow

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There could be, a non-marginal segment of the population, that 95% or more of the time drive less than 75 miles a day and all those miles tend to be short trips in an urban/suburban environment. I can see that the fact that you do not produce tailpipe emissions in urban and congested areas (for example going to pick up/drop off kids at school) and you can do all the idling you want without emissions is definitively a plus.

For this specific segment of the population, and as compared to the majority of gasoline vehicles without a GPF (gas particulate filter), your are doing yourself a favor and to your community, by reducing interaction of tailpipe emissions and close by pedestrians and passengers. Also you are not concerned about 'short-tripping' your gasoline powered car. In this way, a three year old EV for $12K that has a generous battery warranty might be worth considering not only from an environmental point of view bur also from an economical point of view.
I wonder how long the battery will last when mom or dad is sitting the the carpool lane for 45 min waiting on jr to finally come out of the school building and the temp is 100F or 20F. Have to keep the keep the heat or ac pumping even if the car is not moving. Will the battery have enough life left to get the kiddos home, or to soccer practice and then home.
 

ticaf

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I wonder how long the battery will last when mom or dad is sitting the the carpool lane for 45 min waiting on jr to finally come out of the school building and the temp is 100F or 20F. Have to keep the keep the heat or ac pumping even if the car is not moving. Will the battery have enough life left to get the kiddos home, or to soccer practice and then home.
Typically, you need about 2kW for HVAC on average. So if you sit for 1 hour, you would use 2kWH. Out of a 50kWH battery pack, it is not that much. At Max heating or cooling, maybe 4kW, depends on the car.

I would also add that idling my diesel for 1 hour would not be a great feeling. EVs are better at idling...
 
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tikal

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Cost/benefit equation Evs vs Diesel

Typically, you need about 2kW for HVAC on average. So if you sit for 1 hour, you would use 2kWH. Out of a 50kWH battery pack, it is not that much. At Max heating or cooling, maybe 4kW, depends on the car.

I would also add that idling my diesel for 1 hour would not be a great feeling. EVs are better at idling...
* City driving, short tripping, idling -> EV wins the cost/benefit equation
* Road trips with passengers/cargo -> Diesel winds the cost/benefit equation
 

ticaf

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A look at business model transformation and decarbonization within the auto manufacturing sector:

https://graphics.reuters.com/DATA-ESG/AUTOS/ygdpzylllvw/index.html
Talks a lot about Tesla who is absolutely not serious about decarbonizing and saving the planet. But they are the only manufacturer who understands the US market, i.e. big EV cars and SUV.

Everybody else in Europe, is going small low carbon footprint EV.

And then there is GM, they want to save the planet with an electric Hummer....
 

Tin Man

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Typically, you need about 2kW for HVAC on average. So if you sit for 1 hour, you would use 2kWH. Out of a 50kWH battery pack, it is not that much. At Max heating or cooling, maybe 4kW, depends on the car.

I would also add that idling my diesel for 1 hour would not be a great feeling. EVs are better at idling...
I don't relish idling my clean diesel but realize its using a minimum of carbon, not inlike the EV power that also comes from carbon unless it only gets electrons from nuclear/hydro/wind/solar.
 

ticaf

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I don't relish idling my clean diesel but realize its using a minimum of carbon, not inlike the EV power that also comes from carbon unless it only gets electrons from nuclear/hydro/wind/solar.
Totally agree.
Personally, the exhaust smell bothers me when idling, can't be too good to breathe.

I also don't loose sleep regarding CO2.
 

turbobrick240

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Talks a lot about Tesla who is absolutely not serious about decarbonizing and saving the planet. But they are the only manufacturer who understands the US market, i.e. big EV cars and SUV.

Everybody else in Europe, is going small low carbon footprint EV.
.
I'm not sure how you arrived at that conclusion, but it is absolutely the result of faulty thought processes, imo. The Germans are jumping through hoops and cutting through red tape left and right to get Tesla's Berlin Gigafactory built rapidly. And the site is taking shape at an impressive rate! : https://youtu.be/sMO5Di0QQDs
 
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