Electric Vehicles Analyzed

While my articles have focused on the bad economics surrounding plug-in electric (PHEV) and battery-only electric (BEV) vehicles, a subscriber (in comments to an article two weeks ago) brought another article to my attention that analyzed the availability of special materials used in batteries and for alternative energy applications.

Taken together, these articles solidify the view that PHEVs and BEVs are not going to succeed, and that using subsidies to encourage their adoption is probably bad for the economy.

The articles, Hidden Cost of PHEVs Parts I – III, established that:

The high purchase price of PHEVs and BEVs would deter all but early adopters and devoted environmentalists from buying the vehicles.

  • It would be decades before there would be a significant reduction in oil imports.
  • CO2 emissions could, at most, be reduced over the next forty years by a paltry 13%, versus the 80% demanded by the IPCC.
  • Infrastructure costs, for such items as battery-charging stations and additional distribution transformers, would cost billions of dollars.
  • A large number of new power plants would be required to support our 200 million light vehicles if they were PHEVs or BEVs. Existing power generation capacity could, in general, support 87 million vehicles (which is about 40% of existing light vehicles in the U.S.)  before it would be necessary to build new power plants, but a few areas and cities would need to build new power plants much sooner.

The additional article, It’s Time To Kill The Electric Car, Drive A Stake Through Its Heart And Burn The Corpse, established that the cost of special metals used in batteries was much greater than the cost of other resources used for energy, such as coal, oil and natural gas. Specifically it said:

  • “Most alternative energy and electric drive technologies can’t be implemented without large quantities of scarce metals.”
  • “The world cannot produce enough technology metals to permit a widespread transition to alternative energy or electric drive.”
  • “Using batteries as fuel tank replacements is a zero-sum game that consumes huge quantities of metals for the sole purpose of substituting electricity for oil.”

(The article is available at:  http://seekingalpha.com/article/289828-it-s-time-to-kill-the-electric-car-drive-a-stake-through-its-heart-and-burn-the-corpse )

It’s becoming increasingly clear that PHEVs and BEVs are a costly experiment.

The experiment is based on two objectives:

  • Eliminate the use of foreign oil
  • Cut CO2 emissions to stop global warming.

In the first instance, it’s clear that North America and Mexico have an abundant supply of oil and could use its indigenous resources to the virtual exclusion of oil from the Middle East or Venezuela.

In the second instance, it’s becoming very clear that CO2 emissions are not the primary cause of climate change and global warming. The recently completed CERN Cloud experiment has demonstrated that global warming could easily be caused by the sun. This adds substantially to the reasoning of those who argue that natural causes are behind global warming.

It would probably be best if we ended the experiment before spending billions of additional tax payer dollars on PHEVs and BEVs.

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