Are Electric Cars Really the Solution to the energy crisis?
Are electric cars the cars of the future with a tablet computer and easy access to Play Croco casino login a standard feature on most cars? If every single traditional gasoline car was converted to an electric car would the Earth environmentally be in a better place?
Brief history of electric cars
“In the early part of the 1800s, innovators in Hungary, the Netherlands and the United States — including a blacksmith from Vermont — began toying with the concept of a battery-powered vehicle and created some of the first small-scale electric cars. And while Robert Anderson, a British inventor, developed the first crude electric carriage around this same time, it wasn’t until the second half of the 1800s century that French and English inventors built some of the first practical electric cars.
“Here in the U.S., the first successful electric car made its debut around 1890 thanks to William Morrison, a chemist who lived in Des Moines, Iowa. His six-passenger vehicle capable of a top speed of 14 miles per hour was little more than an electrified wagon, but it helped spark interest in electric vehicles.
“Over the next few years, electric vehicles from different automakers began popping up across the U.S. New York City even had a fleet of more than 60 electric taxis. By 1900, electric cars were at their heyday, accounting for around a third of all vehicles on the road. During the next 10 years, they continued to show strong sales.”
“At the turn of the 20th century, the horse and carriage were the primary means of transportation. As America prospered, people looked into motor vehicles that can in three different varieties: steam, gasoline, and electric. Steam was a tried and true energy source, having proved reliable for powering factories and trains. Steam wasn’t very practical for personal vehicles. Steam vehicles required long startup times — sometimes up to 45 minutes in the cold — and would need to be refilled with water, limiting their range.
“As electric vehicles came onto the market, so did a new type of vehicle — the gasoline-powered car. While gasoline cars had promise, they weren’t without their faults. They required a lot of manual effort to drive — changing gears was no easy task and they needed to be started with a hand crank, making them difficult for some to operate. They were also noisy, and their exhaust was unpleasant.
“Electric cars didn’t have any of the issues associated with steam or gasoline. They were quiet, easy to drive, and didn’t emit a smelly pollutants like the other cars of the time. Electric cars quickly became popular with urban residents — especially women. They were perfect for short trips around the city. Due to poor road conditions, few cars of any type ventured outside of cities. As more people gained access to electricity in the 1910s, it became easier to charge electric cars, adding to their popularity with all walks of life.
“Many innovators at the time took note of the electric vehicle’s high demand, exploring ways to improve the technology. Ferdinand Porsche, founder of the sports car company by the same name in 1898, created the world’s first hybrid electric car — a vehicle that is powered by electricity and a gas engine. Thomas Edison also worked to build an electric car, because he thought that electric cars were superior technology and he worked to build a better electric vehicle battery. Even Henry Ford, who was friends with Edison, partnered with Edison to explore options for a low-cost electric car in 1914.
“But Henry Ford created the Model-T. Introduced in 1908, the Model T made gasoline-powered cars widely available and affordable. By 1912, the gasoline car cost only $650, while an electric roadster sold for $1,750. That same year, Charles Kettering introduced the electric starter, eliminating the need for the hand crank and giving rise to more gasoline-powered vehicle sales. So the combination of 1/3 of the cost and the ease of use is what made gasoline powered cars more desireable than electric cars.” (History repeats itself, because it is those same reasons why people are not moving freely from gas powered cars to electric cars — cost of the car and the ease of use of the car).
And now for the final reason why gas powered cars became the dominate mode of transportation in the 1900s ….
“By the 1920s, the U.S. had a better system of roads connecting cities, and Americans wanted to get out and explore. With the discovery of Texas crude oil, gas became cheap and readily available for rural Americans, and filling stations began popping up across the country. In comparison, very few Americans outside of cities had electricity at that time. In the end, electric vehicles all but disappeared by 1935.
“Over the next 30 years or so, electric vehicles entered a sort of dark ages with little advancement in the technology. Cheap, abundant gasoline and continued improvement in the internal combustion engine hampered demand for alternative fuel vehicles.”
Fast forward to 1973
General Motors developed a prototype for an urban electric car that it displayed at the Environmental Protection Agency’s First Symposium on Low Pollution Power Systems Development in 1973, and the American Motor Company produced electric delivery jeeps that the United States Postal Service used in a 1975 test program. Even NASA helped raise the profile of the electric vehicle when its electric Lunar rover became the first manned vehicle to drive on the moon in 1971.
Electric vehicles during this time had limited performance — usually topping at speeds of 45 miles per hour — and their typical range was limited to 40 miles before needing to be recharged.
So the original reason why electric vehicles did not succeed in the early 1900s still existed by the end of the 1900s. Electric vehicles were still only realistic in city environments. They still have a limited range. They still have limited options for recharging. They still have longer periods to recharge than gas powered vehicles.
Fast forward again to 2006
In 2006, Tesla Motors produced a luxury sports car that could go more than 200 miles from a single charge. Compare this to a gasoline powered car, which with a 13 gallon tank, driving at 31 miles per gallon, can get around 400 miles per tank.
So unless Telsa puts into two batteries, in order to get 400 miles per charge, gas powered vehicles still get double the number of miles per “fillup”.
There are cars that has an electric battery and a gas tank, so the driver has the option to use electricity for city driving and gasoline for long distance driving.
Now it is 2022
It is now 2022. The original problems that existed with electric cars still exist today, where to charge their vehicles on the go. Through the Recovery Act, the Energy Department invested more than $115 million to help build a nation-wide charging infrastructure, installing more than 18,000 residential, commercial and public chargers across the country. Automakers and other private businesses also installed their own chargers at key locations in the U.S., bringing today’s total of public electric vehicle chargers to more than 8,000 different locations with more than 20,000 charging outlets.
But compared to the 115,000 gas stations that exist in the US, the government only has to install 100,000 more electric charging stations at a tax payer cost of only $575 million dollars. No problem. But remind me again, how much time it takes to charge a car? Answer: 30 minutes to 12 hours. A typical electric car (60kWh battery) takes just under 8 hours to charge from empty-to-full with a 7kW charging point.
“Most drivers top up charge rather than waiting for their battery to recharge from empty-to-full.” That is great, for city driving, but that does not solve the problem of rural driving or long distance driving.
But Tesla is the leader:
- Telsa Model S
- 75kWh battery
- 238 miles per charge
- Empty to full charge:
- 3.7 kWh slow charge – 21 hours
- 7 kWh fast charge – 11 hours
- 22 kWh fast charge – 5 hours
- 50 kWh fast charge – 2 hours
- 150 kWh fast charge – < 1 hour
For a 100 kWh battery, it is about $14 per charge, but since we have to double this to get in the range of a gas powered car, it would be $28 per “fill up”. But due to the fact that it is only 80% to 90% efficient in charging, it is more around the range of $16.50 (double that, $33).
At $4.32, a 13 gallon tank costs $56 to fill up.
But the electric costs are for home charging. The price goes up when you are on the road and you want fast charging. The cost per kWh is $0.22 cents. So it is $22 per “charge” and double that to be in the range of a gas engine, and it becomes $44.00 per charge. Taking into account that the charge is not efficient, then it becomes $0.26 or $26 per “charge”, double it, and it becomes $51 to fill up.
These figures are rough estimates, but it looks like, given current conditions, price to charge an electric car with fast charger is around the same price as filling up with traditional gas. But “<1 hour” is still a lot longer than the typical 10 minutes it takes to fill up a traditional gas tank.
So it still comes back to the original problems of electric cars may be a feasible option for city driving, but it is not realistic for rural driving or long distance driving.
What about the actual battery?
Did you ever watch the TV show Gold Rush on Netflix? Although it is not a one to one comparison to the minerals needed for batteries, it still gives you an idea of how much damage is done to the Earth to extract minerals from the Earth. In the US, there are laws that require a company to “repair” the damage that they do to the Earth. But the US does not have any control outside of the US. Afghanistan, China, Chile, and Africa, the US has no control over the damage that will be done to extract these minerals.
From an article dated May 25, 2021, “The Lithium Gold Rush: Inside the Race to Power Electric Vehicles”. At this time, after the US Government had told the public that drilling for oil will no longer be allowed on public land, large scale lithium mines in Colorado’s public lands were approved. Why the hypocrisy? Because the Democrat government claims, electric cars that run on batteries are green and oil and gasoline cars are bad.
“The mine, constructed on leased federal lands, could help address the near total reliance by the United States on foreign sources of lithium.” — aka, reliance on Afghanistan, which our current relationship with Afghanistan is now non-existent. Remember, right now, Afghanistan is now considered the Saudi Arabia of lithium.
But this project has drawn protests from Native American tribes, ranchers, and environmental groups because it is expected to use billions of gallons of precious ground water potentially contaminating some of it for 300 years while leaving behind a giant mound of waste.
“Blowing up a mountain isn’t green, no matter how much marketing spin people put on it,” said Max Wilbert, who has been living in a tent on the proposed mine site while two lawsuits seeking to block the project wend their way through federal courts.
“Production of raw materials like lithium, cobalt and nickel that are essential to these technologies are often ruinous to land, water, wildlife and people.
“That environmental toll has often been overlooked in part because there is a race underway among the United States, China, Europe and other major powers. Echoing past contests and wars over gold and oil, governments are fighting for supremacy over minerals that could help countries achieve economic and technological dominance for decades to come.”
Nevada, California, Oregon, Tennessee, Arkansas, and North Carolina are all sites that are being proposed for the extraction of lithium and other raw materials that are needed for battery production. But traditional mining is one of the dirtiest businesses out there.