Diary

Myth of the Electric Car Busted

How many times have we heard the environmentalist Myth of the Electric Car? That the Electric Car is going to save the planet. That the Electric Car is going to cut pollution. That the Electric Car is efficient. That the big car companies bought up the patents to keep the Electric Car off the market.

 

They are all myths. The fact is that the electric car will pollute more, will use more fuel and will use more fuel inefficiently than any comparable internal combustion engine on the road. And the car companies did not need to buy the patents to the electric car to keep it off the market. The electric car is so inefficient and unworkable that it could never succeed in the market in the first place.

 

Here’s why, in plain English and common sense:

 

The electric car has been promoted for decades by environmentalists who say: “Look! There’s no pollution! There’s no tailpipe with nasty emissions coming out. It is all electric!” And gullible people believe that this thing is a good idea. It is not.

 

Electricity is a highly refined resource. It is not like wood which you can cut or scavenge in the forest and toss onto a fire to warm your house or cook a meal. The production of electricity requires a technologically complex and precise turbine system and conversion process which needs to spin a heavy copper-wire generator in order to make electricity. This is the way that virtually all of the world’s electricity is generated. Big generators can weight 20 tons.

 

The spinning can be accomplished by the rushing of falling water over a hydroelectric dam and through the turbine; by the breezes blowing over a giant windmill; or, in most cases worldwide, by the power of steam pressure when water is heated to boiling in what is called a “thermal” power plant, in which the heat source is burning coal or natural gas, or a nuclear reaction. The steam pressure has energy, just as the steam emanating from the top of a pressure cooker could be used to spin a child’s pinwheel.

 

A railroad steam engine uses the same principle: By boiling water, the water expands into 1,600 times its volume as steam, and then the steam’s force pushes the piston that drives the locomotive’s wheels.

 

Once you go through all the steps of making electricity, however, it should be used for refined purposes like running a computer or lighting lamps, purposes for which there is no other source. This is crucial. Electricity should be used when there is no alternative.

 

We should use electricity for powering our microwave ovens and TVs and hospital MRI machines and refrigerators, and running all the electric motors in our daily lives, or for manufacturing processes like mixing, sawing, welding, drilling etc. And on and on.

 

To use refined energy like electricity to power a car is nonsense. Because when you go through all the steps to produce electricity, you lose a tremendous amount of efficiency. In other words, if you burned coal as the heat source in a generating plant, the coal’s heat energy is “converted”, and the electrical energy that you get out of the power plant is much more refined, but offers much less energy content than the raw energy in the coal.

 

To look at it anther way: If you took 10 pounds of coal and burned it in a ‘thermal’ power plant to make electricity, then used the electricity to run a space heater in your home, you would have gained vastly more heat by burning the 10 pounds of coal directly in a stove in your home than you would get out of the electric heater. This is why people who heat their homes with electric heat talk about how expensive it is… because it is the wrong use for electricity.  It is wasteful. Everyone knows it. And now environmentalists are saying that we should use electricity to power our cars which is ridiculous.

 

It is much more efficient to use gasoline to power an automobile because it is a much more direct energy source. And the power in gasoline is awesome, particularly with the highly efficient internal-combustion engines we have today. Just think of driving your car at 50 miles per hour up a hill. It might burn a cup of gasoline. Now imagine how many men it would take to push that car up that same hill at 50 MPH.  It would take 100 men to replace that one cup of gasoline.

 

So therefore, the idea of moving an automobile and its passengers with electricity is a very expensive and wasteful proposition and actually causes more pollution than the gasoline-powered car because of all the energy loss in making electricity in the first place.

 

And indeed there is no tailpipe, and there are no carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and other emissions like the ones put out by gasoline-powered automobiles. Electric car proponents say that the car “saves gas” and “uses no foreign oil”.

 

But an electric car must account for the “upstream” pollution at electrical generating plants, i.e., if the generating plant burns coal, then there is air pollution from the burning of the coal. So rather than playing conveniently dumb, you must account for the “upstream” pollution. And therefore, the electric car indeed pollutes.

 

And with huge debate in this country about how we will generate electricity in the future for existing and anticipated uses, the idea of millions of electric cars on the road would mean that we would need to build hundreds or thousands more electric generating facilities to power all those cars.

 

Of course, some environmentalists will take it a step further and simply say that if we put up windmills, that the electricity will be generated by the clean breezes. But first, windmills never will be able to produce the massive amounts of electricity needed to power 200 millions cars unless we put up windmills everywhere. And second, environmentalists already have been some of the strongest opponents of wind power because of its huge negative environmental impact (they are big and ugly) on mountaintops and out in the ocean, as they are proposed off Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

 

Now a California firm is offering their version of the electric car that was featured on the news recently. It carries only two people, just a bit of luggage, is made of lightweight composite and costs from $25,000 to $40,000. This is absurd. You would never be able to drive that car long distances because it would be too unstable and would require recharging after only a short period. For the same price you could buy a new Toyota Lexus that carries 5 people and their luggage. And the electric car is lightweight and thus dangerous. That is why so many people refuse to buy small cars today – because they are more dangerous than big cars.

 

Environmentalists may be planning to offer government subsidies for the electric car, which is the only thing that will make it competitive in the market. And this will represent a further move toward economic waste and energy inefficiency.

 

The free market will reject the electric car.

 

The best way to proceed into the transportation future is:

 

A) The 72% of American electricity that is generated by burning coal and natural gas should all be converted to nuclear power.

B) The 1.2 billion tons of coal and 5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas – all domestic energy – currently consumed in those power plants each year can be converted into enough gasoline and transportation fuel to eliminate all oil imports.

 

C) Forget the electric car and continue with the efficient internal combustion engine.

 

Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can print out for free my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.