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

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Lug_Nut

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Some N.E. power providers do offer peak/off-peak. My present (last month's bill) is $0.1296/kwh peak, $0.0673/kwh off-peak.

The problem is that the night power mix is less green, a higher percent of fossil fuel due to near zero solar and less wind than in the day. Yeah it's cheaper to buy, but the ecological cost is higher.
 

El Dobro

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With TOU around here, you have to jump through loops to get it and if you do, you can't get the cheaper rate until it's after 9:00 PM. It's almost like they don't want you get it.
 

Lug_Nut

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off-peak for me is 11 pm to 6 am, so yeah, it's not when I (and others) use a big chunk or power, but I guess that's why it's called "off peak", innit?
We'll save clothes drying on rainy, cloudy, windless weeks for night time machine drying, and leave the de-humidifier on the timer for summer nights.

Oh, and the FrostHeater is on a timer as well.
 

meerschm

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There certainly are cost differences for peak vs off-peak, and the utilities do what they can to minimize their cost.

not everyplace shares the incentives. one motivator for them to do so is where expansion of the system is very expensive, and having use pricing helps put off the day when they will have to invest in the increased capability. (or have it end up wasted as more folks move to rooftop solar, more wind......so on and so on...)

One major benefit to having or price motivating BEVs charge at night is that the added customer base comes without any need for increasing the distribution system capability. at least as these get started, this makes huge sense.
 

n1acguy

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Our local DWP in Los Angeles offers a time of use meter, but it's not worth it.
First there's a service charge of 8.00 monthly for a minimally lower night rate (I forget the exact numbers), but it's not enough less per KWH unless you use practically nothing during the day. It would likely end up costing me more. It costs 2.40 to charge for 42-45 miles at peak tier 3 summertime rates. Wintertime might drop to a little over half that since the tier 3 rate structure goes away. Not a lot of savings at our electric rates, but it's the principal.
Once you go time of use they absolutely hose you for anything you use during daytime peak hours. I guess it could work for people whose homes are vacant from 8-5, but that isn't the case in our house.

We just choose to charge the Volt every time we park it. It's only run on gas a couple of times briefly. I'd say we easily will go 4000 or more on a tank the way we use it currently. It's intended to be a local errand car, and serves that purpose nicely.

Volts are designed with water cooled batteries that are designed to change their charge state as gradually as possible, and don't need to deep cycle since they have a backup generator.
As a result, the Volt batteries have ben proven to retain their performance and battery degradation is almost non existent. The batteries will never need to be replaced on most Volts.

I know the car has a higher carbon footprint to manufacture initially since it has both an ICE and a battery pack, but that disadvantage should go away as the car is used as opposed to a conventional car since the battery is likely a one time aquisition.
Pretty hard to calc out, but I'd bet the amount of electricity used to get fuel in a conventional car is not trivial. Consider that pumping out the crude is probably electric (unless it comes from a high pressure well), transportation to the refinery may be pumped through a pipeline, and I'll bet the amount of electricity used at the refinery isn't trivial. Then it usually goes into another electrically pumped pipeline as a refined fuel. The terminal where it's offloaded and retailers mix in their additives uses a fair amount of electric, and then after it's trucked to the fueling station electricity is used again to operate pumps, lights, and everything else at the service station.

Having an electric that I fill at home eliminates a lot of steps in the carbon cycle, and at least here we don't make the electric with a refined fuel such as fuel oil. Natural gas is less energy intensive to produce than refined fuels. Some of our juice comes from the one remaining nuke plant and whatever we are able to produce with solar. I guess the carbon footprint of making solar panels is another topic.
I guess especially with what's happened with VW the last week, the jury is still out on just how eco friendly my TDI Passat is. I'm convinced the Volt is once you get beyond initial manufacture.

Most of my satisfaction comes from using less of a resource that comes from countries run by madmen that would rather chop my head off than say 'Thank You'.
In each case, I could have gotten more conventional car for the money
 

meerschm

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I wonder how a college age family with four EV would charge at night? Since the power plants would be in full capacity mode all night long fossil fuel would have to be producing electricity. Wind less at night and solar is well...I just wonder about the net energy needed.

EV needed subsidized to get off the ground. The govt picks winners and losers. Think blackberry. Think ethanol. Think NOx 0.04 gram per km which for average fleet requires pretty expensive components if diesel in the mix. NOx was simply a manner to outlaw diesels via economics. We didn't outlaw diesels we just created arbitrary guideline that manufacturers chose not to adhere to the EPA will say. Well VW did not at least for test years we know about and that has not pleased any of us. John Beale must be laughing his a-- off right now.
Mr Beale you mentioned here and earlier is a criminal, convicted and paying for his crimes, and while he was praised for work he did on some amendments to the clean air act, along with many more EPA scientific, administrative, and legal staff, he was not the main author of the clean air act. (as you previously suggested) his involvement was more along a sales and coordination function.

I suspect that this detail is not of interest to you, but wanted to point this out for the record (why, I do not know)
 
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redpill

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I wonder how a college age family with four EV would charge at night? Since the power plants would be in full capacity mode all night long fossil fuel would have to be producing electricity. Wind less at night and solar is well...I just wonder about the net energy needed..
So you've just not thought about it enough. Cars charging at night balances the electrical grid, it will actually have a lot of beneficial properties. Don't worry about simultaneous charging, you'll be able to schedule them at different times. Electricity generation needs to be addressed in a big way in general, but night charging is not going to be that big of a deal.
 

ChemMan

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Coal may be falling as a percentage but natural gas fired plants produce NOx also.
In 2012, the average NOx emission intensity of a natural gas power plant with combined cycle was 7% of that of a coal power plant. The NOx emissions from a modern natural gas power plant with combined cycle can be much more efficiently controlled than those from a coal power plant. The SO2 emissions intensities of natural gas power plants with combined cycle are very low, due to the low sulfur content of natural gas, and did not show a decrease between 1997 and 2012. In 2012, the average SO2 emission intensity of a natural gas power plant with combined cycle was 0.2% of that of a coal power plant.
Coal is just some horrible horrible ****.
 

SageBrush

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Coal may be falling as a percentage but natural gas fired plants produce NOx also.
From eGRID 2005

National average is 20 lbs NOx per 20 GWh production
States vary by tremendous amounts -- about 10 fold.

Arithmetic:
20 Lbs is 9.1 Kg, or 9.1 * 10^6 mg
20 GWh is 20 * 10^6 Kwh
A KWh pushes an EV about 2.5 miles (plant to wheels)

So mg/mile NOx emissions for a national grid EV =
(9.1 * 10^6) / (5 * 10^7) = ~ 0.2 mg/mile

Seems way too low. Corrections anyone ?

Addendum:
From Table 4 of an NREL study



Now my arithmetic says 500 mg/mile. I hope that is wrong.
 
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SageBrush

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And last but not least, I found eGRID 2010 showing average national NOx at ~ 1.2 Lbs/MWh

That works out to 545454 mg/2500 miles for a 'national grid fueled EV,' or
218 mg/mile. This I believe. I think.

 
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hikertdi

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From eGRID 2005

National average is 20 lbs NOx per 20 GWh production
States vary by tremendous amounts -- about 10 fold.

Arithmetic:
20 Lbs is 9.1 Kg, or 9.1 * 10^6 mg
20 GWh is 20 * 10^6 Kwh
A KWh pushes an EV about 2.5 miles (plant to wheels)

So mg/mile NOx emissions for a national grid EV =
(9.1 * 10^6) / (5 * 10^7) = ~ 0.2 mg/mile

Seems way too low. Corrections anyone ?

Addendum:
From Table 4 of an NREL study



Now my arithmetic says 500 mg/mile. I hope that is wrong.
Another poster today was doing the same math. The poster claimed NOx from the worst coal plant to be 4lbs per MWh and discounted it by 39% to account for the amount of US power generated by coal (wiki source). That poster's math came out to .236 g/mile for electric power vehicle.

If you look at a wiki page and generate a composite avg of coal and gas at the rates wiki shows and % generated from them it came out in about the same place as that prior poster's assumptions.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossil-fuel_power_station
 

hikertdi

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From eGRID 2005

National average is 20 lbs NOx per 20 GWh production
States vary by tremendous amounts -- about 10 fold.

Arithmetic:
20 Lbs is 9.1 Kg, or 9.1 * 10^6 mg
20 GWh is 20 * 10^6 Kwh
A KWh pushes an EV about 2.5 miles (plant to wheels)

So mg/mile NOx emissions for a national grid EV =
(9.1 * 10^6) / (5 * 10^7) = ~ 0.2 mg/mile

Seems way too low. Corrections anyone ?

Addendum:
From Table 4 of an NREL study



Now my arithmetic says 500 mg/mile. I hope that is wrong.
I think I see the error - 20lbs per GWh is NO2, not NOx. Go back to page 1, the data shows US avg for NOx to be 1.9 lbs per MWh to 1.5 lbs per MWh depending on the ozone season or not. I don't know where in that you see 20 lbs per 20 GWh, but I see 20lbs NO2 per GWh
 

hikertdi

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And last but not least, I found eGRID 2010 showing average national NOx at ~ 1.2 Lbs/MWh

That works out to 545454 mg/2500 miles for a 'national grid fueled EV,' or
218 mg/mile. This I believe. I think. I'll add a photo after Imgur lets me upload.
Looks like the NOx from electric generation is dropping.. from the 2005 link you posted. That's good news.

But still this .218g/mile is 3x over 0.07 g/mile. Why no uproar, how is good in relation to the standard?
 

SageBrush

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I think I see the error - 20lbs per GWh is NO2, not NOx.
Thank you! I found that same error a little while ago. I followed up with what I think is a correct calculation later. Somewhere in the range of 200 mg/mile for an EV charging off an 'average US grid.'

I knew the grid is dirty (and particularly so in my locale,) but you know something is way wrong when cars are cleaner than a central power facility. I wish I could do more at home. I'm limited by being in a rental.
 

bubbagumpshrimp

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I live in Canada
Can you picture me in a snow storm with an electric car?
What keeps the heater going?
Battery goes dead no heat get out and walk in a blizzard only to get hit by a snowplow
The EPA (smoke police ) guys travel how?
In a jet that's leaving that trail of soot that they I guess cant check or a free electric car they can drive for an hour or so at a time
Do they check the exhaust on powerplant chimneys?
Are these not what recharges these cars?
What about the fuel tax to maintain roads bridges etc.
Will I have to pay road tax on my next light bill?
The EPA would say "Well then..a Prius would be perfect for you!":rolleyes:
 

bhtooefr

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In any case, NOx is a local air pollution concern (yes, wind can move it, but it's still not THAT big of a deal), so even if an EV ends up putting out a lot more of it, it's not being spewed in a population area, and therefore doesn't really matter that much.

Also, if there's night-time charging, NOx doesn't really do much with smog formation without sunlight.
 

SageBrush

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Looks like the NOx from electric generation is dropping.. from the 2005 link you posted. That's good news.

But still this .218g/mile is 3x over 0.07 g/mile. Why no uproar, how is good in relation to the standard?
There is no uproar because few people care. Just as few TDI owners care.

If your question is why are cars regulated tighter than power plants, then the non-poliitical answer is that cars tend to congregate in cities. My car and I do not live in a city, but I understand EPA not giving a waiver to anybody who thinks their neighborhood can tolerate more smog.
 

hikertdi

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Thank you! I found that same error a little while ago. I followed up with what I think is a correct calculation later. Somewhere in the range of 200 mg/mile for an EV charging off an 'average US grid.'

I knew the grid is dirty (and particularly so in my locale,) but you know something is way wrong when cars are cleaner than a central power facility. I wish I could do more at home. I'm limited by being in a rental.
Yes I saw it with the 2010 figures - I concur with that calc. But this still makes the avg US EV 3x over the NOx standard of 70mg/mile.

Its this sort of figure that makes the EPA hypocritical. The push for EV as clean when in fact its worse than gassers (if those comply). In certain places like NYC and Calif, where they clearly use power from lower NOx plants they get close.

People running away to EV and plug in as the solution - well, it might be better than the LNT, and perhaps the SCR, but its over standard.
 

SageBrush

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In certain places like NYC and Calif, where they clearly use power from lower NOx plants they get close.
More than close.

California in 2010 NOx is 185 mg/kWh, or right about 70 mg/mile (equivalent.) It is lower now, and will continue to fall as CA approaches 33% renewables by 2020 and upgrades the NG power to combined cycle.
So from a CA perspective the car standard makes some sense. And where CA leads in air and car pollution regulation, the nation follows
 
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VeeDubTDI

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I wonder how a college age family with four EV would charge at night? Since the power plants would be in full capacity mode all night long fossil fuel would have to be producing electricity. Wind less at night and solar is well...I just wonder about the net energy needed.
Who says you have to charge at home at night? Charge during the day at your place of business utilizing chargers in the parking garage or lot. As the EV market grows, so will the charging infrastructure. Expect to see a lot of solar panels in parking lots - perhaps even shading your car while you're inside.
 

redpill

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I live in Canada
Can you picture me in a snow storm with an electric car?
What keeps the heater going?
Not sure what you are talking about, Norway is one of Tesla's biggest markets because of their EV incentives, and they perform very well there, yes even in snow storms.
 

SageBrush

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Who says you have to charge at home at night? Charge during the day at your place of business utilizing chargers in the parking garage or lot. As the EV market grows, so will the charging infrastructure. Expect to see a lot of solar panels in parking lots - perhaps even shading your car while you're inside.
Yep.

I never see people "concerned" about the effect of EVs on the grid wonder how Air Conditioners are supported. Or electric water heaters. :eek:
 
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hikertdi

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More than close.

California in 2010 NOx is 185 mg/kWh, or right about 70 mg/mile (equivalent.) It is lower now, and will continue to fall as CA approaches 33% renewables by 2020 and upgrades the NG power to combined cycle.
So from a CA perspective the car standard makes some sense. And where CA leads in air and car pollution regulation, the nation follows
Agreed. In CA and NYC, the EV makes a good deal of sense, and since power in generated locally, they also are in standard so to speak.

I still find the multi-state data in the WVU report highly interesting (along with the X5). The Passat had a number of NOx readings well under the spec in the steady speed hiway section. And on the whole the numbers came in around 5-6x spec. But the WVU report does not give enough data to truly calculate a proper g/mile avg. You can only equally weight each segment of the reported data. No miles or Kms are given.
 

Tom Servo

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There is no uproar because few people care. Just as few TDI owners care.
If your question is why are cars regulated tighter than power plants, then the non-poliitical answer is that cars tend to congregate in cities. My car and I do not live in a city, but I understand EPA not giving a waiver to anybody who thinks their neighborhood can tolerate more smog.
The problem with this line of thinking is it still allows for the spewing of pollution — just somewhere else. If we really want clean air, shouldn't it be clean everywhere and not just in cities?

There's an article out there floating around about just how awful EVs and plug-in hybrids are for air pollution in certain states due to the coal fired power they use. It basically says that unless you live in LA or NYC you're spewing far more pollution via the smokestack in another community than you would be at the tailpipe of a conventional gasser.

To me, we either need to recognize that most of the US isn't going to be suffering because of this egregious VW behavior or that everyone is and a stop sale on EVs and plug-in hybrids needs to be next in 46 of the 50 US states.
 

SageBrush

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Agreed. In CA and NYC, the EV makes a good deal of sense, and since power in generated locally, they also are in standard so to speak.
The standard you speak of is maximum allowable in a car.

Of my two cars,
One emits 10 mg/mile Nox
The other emits no more than 70 mg/mile

Pretty typical perhaps -- spanning T2B3 to T2B5
So in a gross sense EVs do not compete very well with clean cars overall, but this goes back to CARB trying to clean up the air for city dwellers.
 

SageBrush

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The problem with this line of thinking is it still allows for the spewing of pollution — just somewhere else. If we really want clean air, shouldn't it be clean everywhere and not just in cities?
I'm all in favor of strict NOx emissions everywhere, but I think your reasoning is flawed as stated. Cities have a high density of people and cars. They cannot be reasonably compared to a rural setting.

The average is just not a useful metric in this discussion.

It is like the discussion earlier about a line of cars waiting to pick up school-kids. That local air is a lot dirtier than the suburbs where the kids live and it deserves its own consideration.
 

nwdiver

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You know, if Elon Musk can give us a vehicle that costs in the range of $18,000 to 30,000, and has performance characteristics to our TDI INCLUDING the quick recharge and range capabilities, I'd be interested. That's not happening right now and will take a long time to achieve. I don't fly distances of between 200-700 miles, I have to drive. Nice car, don't get me wrong, but a Tesla doesn't do it for me. Just my two cents.
I wish there was a free 1 month EV loaner program... you would quickly realize 1) How much range you DON'T need 2) How awesome it is to leave home every day with plenty of juice.

When I did road trips with my Jetta I was a habitual hyper-miler. My record was 800 miles on a single tank but my bladder and stomach can't last 800 miles. I make the same stops I did in my Jetta but instead of just eating & resting now I eat, rest and charge. When your car can charge at ~135kW or ~400mph your car is usually ready to go before you are.
 

gulfcoastguy

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I wish there was a free 1 month EV loaner program... you would quickly realize 1) How much range you DON'T need 2) How awesome it is to leave home every day with plenty of juice.
When I did road trips with my Jetta I was a habitual hyper-miler. My record was 800 miles on a single tank but my bladder and stomach can't last 800 miles. I make the same stops I did in my Jetta but instead of just eating & resting now I eat, rest and charge. When your car can charge at ~135kW or ~400mph your car is usually ready to go before you are.
That might be nice if you happen to liven the area that fast chargers are currently installed and if they'll swap out a $25,000.00 VW for a $80,000.00 Tesla. In my case one isn't true and the other is as likely as my drowning in unicorn tears.
 
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