Electric vehicles are the answer?

An article this week in EV World discusses Hubbert’s peak, subject of some recent discussion here, and compares the electric generation capacity needed for an electric vehicle future, relative to one where hydrogen replaces oil. The result?

Producing the hydrogen equivalent in energy to the oil now used in U.S. transport would require 10 trillion kilowatt hours of electric energy; we would have to triple our electric generation capacity.

A more practical approach would be the electrification of transport. Switching half the truck and personal auto miles to electrified transport would require an increase in electric generation capacity of only 10 percent. Electrified transport is clean, non-polluting and energy-efficient.

Are you ready to buy your electric car yet?

11 thoughts on “Electric vehicles are the answer?”

  1. Definitely the way to go! If you follow the news on development of efficieny from electric motors there is a lot more to come. More EV’s will stimulate that development.

  2. Interesting figure. To generate the amount of hydrogen needed to replace oil used in transport, three times as much generating capacity is needed. Particularly interesting when some of existing capacity comes from oil-powered generators, and obviously feeding them the oil presently used in transport is not the purpose of the statistic.

    Perhaps we should also note that at the bottom of the article it mentions “He is a director of Maglev 2000 of Florida Corp.” so he does have an interest in electrical transport.

    His long-distance travel method is of interest, but I think most automobile use is simply because existing mass transport is inefficient for individuals. I think personal rapid transport technologies (PRT) would work better to reduce city automobile use.

  3. Millions of tonnes of hydrogen per year are now-a-days made with little use of electricity. When hydrogen comes to be made from non-fossil fuel energy, it does not follow that electrolysis will then suddenly be the way to go. There are direct thermal approaches.

    Both hydrogen cars and electric cars have a long record of not catching on. Here’s a summary by someone who was directly involved:

    The automakers (I work for one) spent hundreds of millions of dollars developing electric vehicles. We did not succeed. The basic problem is this: They cost too much, they take too long to charge, and they don’t go far enough on a charge. I can solve any one of the three problems, but not all three …

    My earlier comment — “Hydrogen is very heavy” — is still relevant, I think.

    — Graham Cowan
    how individual mobility gains nuclear cachet (MS word format)

  4. Look at the pie charts on the bottom of the page marked 24 in
    “Electricity Generation by Fuel”.

    In 28 years oil’s share of global electricity production went from 24.7 percent to 7.5 percent.

    Existing mass transport has to be inefficient and unattractive because it is funded through taxes on private use of motor fuel — sometimes with a more direct connection than other government services. Maybe the bus intrinsically can’t take you pleasantly from where you are to where you want to go, but transit workers whose revenue diminishes if they gain ridership are going to make sure.

    — Graham Cowan
    how individual mobility gains nuclear cachet
    (MS word format)

  5. hot from the Tango commuter cars page:

    Commuter Cars is now accepting orders with fully refundable deposits for the Tango 600 kit and for the Tango 200 and Tango 100 production vehicles. Delivery of the ultimate high-performance, luxury Tango 600 is expected to commence in late 2004.

  6. the tango 600 is $85,000. Though its got some nice things, It’s still currently out of my price range.

    The tango 200 and the 100 are not yet designed but you can preorder them. hmmm…

  7. …because they weren’t given a chance.  The EV1 was an extremely popular car with a long range that GM made hard to get and is forcing people to give back even though most owners (leasors, which is how they can be forced to give them back) want to keep them.

  8. In my city, Vancouver, BC, we have the co-operative auto network. It is not as technologically spiffy, with the cards and what not of the SMILE project, but it is the same basic idea. It has become more and more popular here as urban living is becoming more prevalent. We’re quickly (sadly) turning into a major urban centre. In the city housing trend is changing to choice that don’t really provide space for cars. For those who choose to live in the core and don’t need cars much, it is a perfect solution.

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