Op-Ed: The Elephant in the EV Room, Part I: Let’s Talk About It, Shall We?

3 years ago by Assaf Oron 102

No Elephants Here!

No Elephants Here!

Since discovering InsideEVs about a year ago, it has quickly become one of my favorite websites. Besides the subject matter, I like the positive vibes of the site’s editors: a very nice combination of competence and light-heartedness, that makes you want to come back for more.

There’s one thing, though, that does bother me about the discourse here and in other EV-enthusiast forums. It is the seeming reluctance to acknowledge and discuss the role of EVs in mitigating global warming. This post (hopefully the first in a mini-series) will try to set the record straight.

Not only are there *very* few posts on the topic; whenever someone (often it’s me) does bring it up in the comments, several people will jump up and quip that they couldn’t care less about global warming and fail to see how it’s relevant to EVs. Others will admit that they do care about global warming, but would rather not bring up such a “polarizing” topic here.

The end result a de-facto pact of silence on global warming, imposed on much of the EV discourse, especially in American forums. This, even though I suspect (and polls seem to support this suspicion) that we – those deeply concerned about global warming and keenly aware of its EV connection – are in fact a majority among EV enthusiasts, even in America and surely everywhere else. We are a majority who mostly chooses to censor ourselves, for fear of being set upon or “ruining the EV camaraderie“.

Since “Ruining Camaraderie” is my middle name(s), I’ll do it on everyone else’s behalf then. In this particular post, I make the (easy-peasy) case that global-warming concerns are the front-and-center reason why EVs are now breaking into the automotive mainstream – and therefore the practice of avoiding discussion of the issue is rather ridiculous.

Seeing An EV On The Road Today Is No Big Deal - Even A $100,000 Dollar One

Seeing An EV On The Road Today Is No Big Deal – Even A $100,000 Dollar One

I came to the EV world from the environmental rather than the car-afficionado direction. So it has been surprising and pleasant to learn that EVs are an overall better technology than ICE (and as is my habit, it didn’t take long for me to write about it). Nowadays it seems that every automaker who seriously puts their mind to it, produces an EV that wins awards and accolades that *can* become a jewel in its crown if it so wishes (GM, are you listening?).

So… why haven’t EVs become more popular earlier? And why are they still just barely coming out of the fringe in most countries, and still on the fringe in many others? Well, the nature of human society is that Technology B being objectively better than Technology A is rarely reason enough to replace A – in case A is the convenient, familiar incumbent.

There are examples for this phenomenon all around us. A simple example is QWERTY. This awkward location of letters on our keyboards dates back to mid-19th Century, when it helped prevent lever jam on mechanical typewriters. Otherwise, it is notoriously inefficient and surely makes no sense anymore.

Behold The Inefficiency!

Behold The Inefficiency!

For many decades, people have been trying to replace QWERTY with something more sensible. The potential benefit is huge: even a 5% time saving from changing to a better configuration, is multiplied by the hundreds of millions of people QWERTYing around the globe.

Nowadays, most leading operating systems are compatible by default with QWERTY’s most prominent alternative (shown above). And yet, we are no closer now to ditching QWERTY, than we were 40 years ago. Why? because QWERTY is the universal incumbent, it does the job well enough, and no one has the motivation to invest the extra pain and effort or pay for the upheaval involved in replacing it.

What’s really needed in order to dump a dominant-incumbent Tech A, is one of these:

  1. A major crisis caused by incumbent Tech A’s self-destructive aspects;
  2. Alternative Tech B being dramatically superior in the core aspects deemed important to consumers;
  3. Alternative Tech B getting an opportunity on a reasonably-level playing field.

QWERTY certainly doesn’t fit the bill on any of them. However, typewriters themselves are a classic example for #2, having been completely swept aside by the advent of the personal computer.

BEV Range And Infrastructure Limitations Hinder Widespread Adoption

BEV Range And Infrastructure Limitations Prohibits Them From Being Viewed By The Public As “Dramatically Superior”

Another example, perhaps closer in spirit to the ICE:EV battle, is Windows vs. Linux. Despite Linux being objectively better on most counts, it still doesn’t quite qualify for #2. I guess Windows still does the job; or rather, at least its odd-numbered versions do :). And the monopolistic operating-system market structure had denied Linux any level-playing-field chance.

Until the smart-mobile-device revolution came along. The smart-device field being new, rapidly-expanding, and free from Windows domination, Linux-based Android has quickly achieved a leading position there. Because it *is* objectively better. Windows OTOH has been relegated to the very fringes of the mobile-device market, in accordance with its lower overall consumer value (and consumer resentment at its monopolism).

Back to EVs and in particular BEVs. Sadly enough, as long as BEV ranges and charge times/locations are limited the way they are today (except for vehicles whose price is far beyond the average consumer’s reach), BEVs cannot use #2 to break the ICE domination, surely not while makers and consumers pay the full price of tech development. And PHEV/EREV solutions are even more expensive.

Personally I think #1 (major crisis) qualifies as a reason for EVs to triumph: ICE technology and the associated economics is a chief culprit in global warming. Indeed, this sense of major crisis has been driving many consumers like me to consider EVs even the tech is not mature yet, and even if they cost a bit more.

EV Adoption Due To Fear Of Global Warming?  Not Likely.

Mass EV Adoption Due To Fear Of Global Warming? Not Likely.

But I must acknowledge that the global-warming catastrophe (which I’ll treat in greater detail in subsequent posts) is rather like the proverbial pot of water that heats up gradually enough for the frogs swimming in it to avoid noticing they are being cooked alive (especially when so many “opinion-shapers” are telling them it’s not really happening).

At least as of May 2014, global warming is not dramatic enough to completely change most people’s economic behavior.

This leaves for EVs only option #3: levelling the playing field.

This is precisely the mechanism by which EVs are making their long-overdue comeback. The field is being levelled, mostly thanks to massive government subsidies to EV makers and consumers, all around the world.

US Federal EV Credit Program - Worth Up To $7,500 Per Qualifying Vehicle

US Federal EV Credit Program – Worth Up To $7,500 Per Qualifying Vehicle

Oopsie. I said it, the big bad G-word. There are few things anti-EV types like to hurl at EVs more than the accusation that we are nothing but a huge government-assistance program, “frivolous welfare for the green-minded.” But this vicious spin ignores the context.

No one minds government intervention in the right context: anti-trust laws, consumer protection from hazardous products, etc. In our case, on the practical level EV subsidies serve mostly to level the distorted auto-market playing field. In any case, nearly all countries whose governments have spearheaded the EV-subsidies effort are democracies. Therefore their choice represent (albeit imperfectly) the will of the people.

Now… one point you might disagree about is whether indeed it’s global warming that is driving these subsidies. There are, of course, many other good reasons to support EVs:

  • Oil scarcity/security concerns;
  • Non-greenhouse ICE tailpipe pollution (carbon monoxide, particulates, etc.);
  • ICE noise pollution (a point that Nissan has recently done some weird stuff to demonstrate);
  • and so on.

We are all very familiar with these rationales. First, people and in particular American politicians love trotting them out in order to avoid talking about global warming. Second, all these other motives have been around for many decades. We were literally raised knowing them.

BMW i3 and BMW i3 REx Both Qualify For An $2,500 CVRP Rebate In California (Along With All Other Road-Worthy BEVs)

BMW i3 and BMW i3 REx Both Qualify For An $2,500 CVRP Rebate In California (Along With All Other Road-Worthy BEVs)

Which is precisely my Q.E.D.! If those were indeed the main reasons, to the point that bringing up global warming is completely redundant – then governments around the world would have gotten solidly behind EVs decades ago. If those were indeed sufficient motives, The US Federal government and the State of California would have never left EV1 to the dogs.

No, my friends. You cannot avoid the conclusion: global warming and the recent, increasing, massive sense of emergency it has generated, is the 800-pound gorilla sending far more public (and private) money into EV technologies, more than all of the pre-existing motives put together. And that’s what is finally making the playing field less rigged in ICE’s favor.

To summarize, the take-home message is

  1. Absent government subsidies to automakers and consumers, EV production and EV sales would have been nowhere near where they are now, and
  2. Absent the increasing sense of global-warming emergency, the depth and breadth of subsidies to the EV segment (globally speaking) would have been nowhere near their current levels.

Note that this post is NOT about whether you agree global warming exists or not, or what should be done about it. This post is about the two points I just listed.

So the next time you see someone discuss EVs’ CO2-footprint considerations on this site, and you are itching to jump in and proclaim:

“I love my Leaf, but I don’t give squat about global warming and I don’t want to hear about it here…”

Stop for a moment and realize how silly this statement is. Regardless of your stand on global warming or on where/when/how (not) to broach the subject, the fact is most of us wouldn’t have been able to afford our EVs – or possibly even to see an EV anywhere around us – unless other people with the required money and authority cared enough about global warming, to make EV development a top priority.

That’s all for now. In the next post, I will explain why I don’t believe in global warming.

[ Per the editor’s request I am adding that the last sentence is a provocative snark. It is correct only in the literal sense. More next week… ]

Tags: , ,

102 responses to "Op-Ed: The Elephant in the EV Room, Part I: Let’s Talk About It, Shall We?"

  1. David Murray says:

    Lets face it, people (as in MOST people) will not buy a car they otherwise do not like just to save a future generation from global warming. And sadly, I’m talking about people who actually believe in global warming.

    Then you have the people who don’t believe in it, which unfortunately, is a large chunk of American society.

    I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. If you want the EV to succeed, the best thing to do is ignore the environmental issues. its like trying to sell people fat-free ice cream instead of the regular stuff. It really doesn’t matter how good it tastes. It can even taste better than regular ice cream. Most people will still buy the regular kind.

    Just to put things in perspective.. You could take that same ice cream and NOT market it as fat-free and just try marketing as the best tasting ice cream. More people would buy it then than trying to market it as good-for-you.

    1. Assaf says:

      David,

      I think you missed my post’s point (or more likely, I have mis-written it).

      I’m certainly not saying “get an EV now to save global warming, regardless of how lousy its consumer value to you is.” I know enough about consumer dynamics, and am a pretty stingy/conservative consumer myself on most things.

      What I’m saying is that government intervention in improving current-generation EV consumer value, has been critical to the emergence of EVs. And this intervention itself is driven mostly by global warming.

      Ignoring that, and refusing to talk about global warming with fellow EVsters, is not like ignoring the elephant in the room – it is like ignoring the elephant upon whose back you are riding 🙂

      1. Assaf says:

        Put another way:

        Your argument “Most people will still buy the regular kind” is precisely the point I tried to make in my long detour about Tech B being simply better than plain-vanilla Tech A, is not sufficient for market acceptance.

      2. Mint says:

        I don’t think you’re right at all. Gov’t intervention isn’t about AGW. It’s about energy independence and trade balance.

        China just recently became the world’s largest importer of oil, and unlike the US, it’s not even close to maxing out VMT per capita. Urban air pollution is a major problem also.

        Your problem is the same as that of most environmentalists: For all your talk of science, you’re too lazy to do any math, and I see no numbers in your piece. That’s why they opposed nuclear power only to let coal grow like wildfire in its place.

        Suppose the $7500 EV tax credit had a primary purpose of preventing CO2, even with the false assumption that it was powered by 100% CO2-free electricity. 200k miles in a 35 MPG car would emit 50 tons of CO2, so that subsidy works out to $150/ton.

        That’s horribly ineffective.

        1. Mint – I was thinking the same thing, that it’s energy independence that drives CAFE standards and therefore similarly the EV tax credit. But, I think that’s also an opinion not easily verified and not cut and dry. His point is that without AGW, energy independence alone would not be enough to spur governments (in the US, but also many others) from leveling the playing field. Norway, for example, has more oil than God, yet they also have one of the best EV incentives on the planet – and therefore adoption rates. That would not have happened without AGW and this helps global carmakers respond in like manner.

          As for the US $7500 being a poor investment, I think you’re probably right, but that’s because our government won’t/can’t do the right thing – which would be to institute a carbon tax. This would be a better way to level the playing field, but would raise prices indirectly for our fossil fuel dependent lives – so they chose a less contentions, and therefore less effective, incentive.

          Regardless, the point isn’t really to make the incentive “efficient” for each car, it is to help EV manufacturers get over the initial hump of development costs so they can manufacture, market, and sell EVs closer to what it costs to do that for an ICE car which is now as efficient as it can ever be.

          I really appreciate Assaf’s bulls by the horn discussion here, I do think we “ignore” AGW at our peril, and that includes censoring our comments out of fear for who we might offend.

          1. Mint says:

            I still think Norway’s EV benefits aren’t about AGW. It has gobs of oil, but every drop they consume is oil that cannot be exported at massive profit to fund their amazing social safety net.

            It also has so much natural beauty that nobody wants any air pollution, acid rain, smog, etc. EVs simply mesh with their vision of society.

            As you note, their EV incentives are even greater, so if AGW was the primary justification of that, then the cost effectiveness would be even worse that in the US, i.e. $300+/ton.

  2. While there are many elephants and whales in the room … adoption is more rEVolutionary than two competing technologies.

    Using Linux vs. Windows, or QWERTY vs. Dvorak keyboard has little side-effects beyond the person using the technology. Using electric energy vs. consuming fossil fuels has not only less impact on neighborhood, but the whole planet. Particles and gaseous emissions effect many beyond the producer/user.

    The virtual elephant in the room is the ever shrinking battery. Just as computers have shrunk from room size, to brick size, to pocket size … from mainframes to tabets and smartphones! These same batteries are being used to pack increasing amounts of power in a similarly sized vehicle.

    Whie GHG’s are at the tipping point, the tipping point for EVs is economics. As costs of fossil fuels continues to increase … battery storage technology and renewable energy costs continue to decrease. Today the total life cycle costs of EVs are lower than ICE. In the not to distant future, initial purchase price of EVs will also become competitive with ICE vehicles.

    Economics aside, EVs excell beyond ICE in many ways … sound, vibration, power, torque, handling, reliability, etc. The EVolution goes beyond choosing a keyboard … it like a tablet that has a virtual keyboard. (the choice is no longer a physical object choice, it’s just something part of a more complex integrated system)

    Soon the large virtual elephant (of a battery) will become a virtual race horse transporting us into the future.

    1. Assaf says:

      Brian,

      Thanks for pitching in.

      As I argue in my post, right now EVs do not yet offer a dramatically-enough better consumer value, or even a better consumer value for all possible uses – surely not without government subsidies.

      And so, a “spontaneous” takeover of the auto world by EVs, without intervention, is not in the cards yet.

      Hopefully in 10 years’ time and after many billions of well-spent public $$, we will be there…

      1. “EVs do not yet offer a dramatically-enough better consumer value”

        There are many consumers that would disagree, having purchased a PEVs in the last year. In the past 12 months, “value” has been part of over a 100,000 PEV purchases in the U.S.

        There will be no “spontaneous” takeover of the auto world by EVs. Adoption of EVs will continue at a steady pace of increasing percentage of market share. Already BEVs account for 1.4% of sales in California and 1.6% in Hawaii and Washington. As the price of batteries continues to fall, the “value” that EVs offer will appeal to an ever larger percentage of the population. 250,000 EVs will be providing “value” to their owners by year-end.

        1. BraveLilToaster says:

          What he means though, is that BEVs are just too expensive right now.

          Imagine if a Tesla Model S came in at $19,995. The whole world would pave a fresh new path to a Tesla store if it were in the middle of the tundra. And we know this because Norway has effectively done exactly that, since you can buy one there for the same price as a Honda Accord, thanks to their vehicle tax structure.

  3. Assaf says:

    …I guess I’ll be my own first commenter… just a small relevant anecdote.

    Yesterday we embarked upon our biggest EV adventure to date: a ~180 mile round trip day trip. As we rolled into the Tumwater QC (the same one where Steve Marsh received his 100k mile award last winter), we saw a Leaf that pulled in just a couple minutes earlier 🙂

    As the guy was charging, I chatted with him. He was from Auburn – arguably the most conservative suburb in the Seattle-Tacoma area. He had just bought his 2014 Leaf a few days earlier as a 2nd family car. He voluntarily cited the maintenance-headache advantages as his reason.

    We had more time to chat about EVs, limitations, etc., and at some point I said “yeah, but we do need to move away from Oil”. Still no direct global-warming mention. To which my companion said, “Most scientists now think it’s probably too late. We’re headed to a catastrophe.” I corrected that saying that a Humanity-ending catastrophe can still probably be avoided.

    Note the progression of the conversation. You start from “accepted” talking points, then only when you feel you are in a “safe” setting, you dare talk about stuff that would have otherwise been left unsaid. And had they been left unsaid, one could easily conclude that this late-middle-age guy from a conservative suburb is either hostile or indifferent to global-warming concern.

    Which would have been the wrong conclusion. This is why we must talk about global warming here, and must make it a safe discussion topic.

    1. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

      To me, global warming is just too riddled with big government compulsion think, NIMBYism and hypocrisy to take seriously. There always seems to be a solution that involves taking my money and restricting my freedom for some indefinable goal, and the instincts of those folks always appear to be “end liberty first, ask questions later”.

      So here’s a few qs (assuming excessive CO2 is the problem):
      * For AGW to be curtailed, _all_ nations must stop emitting it at such high levels. Why is it then that some nations don’t have to? If “we’re all in this together”, why aren’t those nations embargo’d / tariff’d into compliance? Why do they have exceptions?
      * If AGW is as serious as its adherents believe, why don’t they act that way? Lots of actors, politicians, activists, etc. still take CO2-belching aircraft off to far-flung tourist destinations for “conferences” and other junkets, they live in 10000+ sqft houses, etc. Lots of hypocrisy there.
      * When someone like Bjorn Lomborg asks whether or not smaller-scale engineering and less-intrusive regulation could be enough to mitigate the effects of AGW, he’s flamed out of the room by those for whom nothing less than complete control of humanity’s progress will do.
      * Though some greenies are coming around, there is still a knee-jerk reflex against nuclear power, the _only_ CO2-free power source that can provide cheap, reliable, safe and constant base-load power for a world whose demand (and its anti-poverty benefits) are rightfully growing and will continue to forever. Energy drives progress and sustains life in the modern world, and it will not be contained, and attempting to do so is cruel if not racist.

      To my mind, when Communism fell and was universally discredited beyond any shadow of a doubt in the late 1980s, its ashen-faced and hopefully embarrassed adherents flailed about wildly for some other comfortable ideology to take its place (as, perhaps, some apocalyptic religious sects might after their end date came and went), and latched on to environmentalism (which had been somewhat of a fellow traveler but still independent enough with a libertarian hippie streak) for a banner to fall behind. So when dealing with these enviros, know that they’re actually just commies in disguise who want to rule over you and control your life to the benefit of their secular pantheon of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Castro (among others).

      1. Gsned57 says:

        Well said doctor. Well said. My passion for EVs stems from patriotism. I don’t want to send another dollar to a middle eastern sheik or dictator. I don’t want to feel like my $$$ is being used to prop the Saudi govt which won’t let women drive or bibles in their country. I’ve long since let go of the idea of our politicians doing the right thing so I see Evs as my personal way to do my part. I don’t want govt to take my liberties away. They should be using our purchasing power as leverage to facilitate human rights in areas where it is most needed otherwise stop doing business with those regimes.

        1. Assaf says:

          1. Will address the questions “what is global warming? How do we know it’s happening and not a figment of Al Gore’s imagination?” on Post #2.

          2. @Noisewater You are the second person here to rather maliciously suggest that everyone concerned about global warming is a phony. Of course, you know each and every person who cares about global warming, and also know they are doing nothing about it. Because you’ve heard that a couple of celebrities are flying in planes to conferences.

          1. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

            I don’t think they’re _all_ phonies, just _most_ of them. Phonies or dupes.

            I think self-serving pols and their useful idiots pushing AGW panic in order to sell books, get grants and buy influence are a lot more disgusting.

            1. Mark H says:

              Probably agree with the majority of your post Dr. but having spent time in fifteen different countries in my career has helped me see the globe as not just a democrat or republican point of view. Heck, the Italians have so many parties I can’t keep count. Bottom line it is hard to accept that Chinese scientist, Japanese scientist, German scientist, etc. are phonies. Much more believable that the politicians, lobbyist, and talk show hosts are the phonies.

              1. Assaf says:

                +3 to that Mark.

                @Noisewater as I said in my 1st response, whether global warming is a hoax or something else, will be addressed next post so here it’s quite a bit off-topic.

                Oh, and yes, I do feel scientifically qualified to talk about the technical details. I hope the discussion in the next post will help clarify these matters for you.

            2. Mint says:

              The anti-AGW group is just as guilty on that front. They keep pedaling populist and non-scientific arguments to get listerners/viewers (e.g. Rush, O’Reilly) rather than attacking the true Achilles Heel of the case to urgently address AGW: Cost per degree of averted warning.

              We’re looking at $1T per hundredth of a degree of averted warming. We could solve world hunger and eradicate countless diseases before preventing even a tenth of degree of warming, so why the hell should the latter be of higher priority?

      2. Dan Hue says:

        You say “global warming is just too riddled with big government compulsion think”, but you don’t think (apparently) that nuclear is? Talk about cognitive dissonance. I also object to your lumping environmentalism and communism. Communist countries have an atrocious environmental legacy. Undoubtedly, there is a segment of the hard left that is using environmental issues to undermine capitalism and consumerism, but that does not mean that all criticism is unjustified. Our way of life is unsustainable, plain and simple. Personally, I buy into the argument that there are limits to growth, and that we are overpopulated, but I also reckon that we are immensely wasteful, and that before “restricting freedom”, or discouraging people from reproducing, we should tap into the huge efficiency gains that are possible, even with current technology. EVs are a step in the right direction.

        1. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

          Your point about nuclear is a non-sequitur, or at least besides the point: there is plenty of privately-owned and operated nuclear power in the US and elsewhere. In fact, modern nuclear is currently being driven by smaller private companies or even startups.

          Your points related to suppressing growth smack to me of Marie Antoinette and “Let them eat cake” arrogance. Who are YOU to tell the African, South Asian, Chinese, etc. billions that they _can’t_ have the same level of food and energy security as enjoyed by the West? Do you think they’ll listen to you, or what you (or I) think has any relevance to their aspirations? Typical college-pinko naivete.

          Incidentally, whenever Hansen or some other ghoul talks about overpopulation and the need to reduce humanity’s headcount, I have only two words for them: “You First”.

          Nuclear is the _only_ way to enable their future, and ours, and modern designs can tide the world over for however many decades or centuries it takes for fusion to finally become a reality. It also removes the (perceived) need for violence in the service of maintaining the energy status quo with regard to oil. Nuclear is peace.

          1. Chris says:

            Nuclear has a massive Government subsidy that you need to acknowledge whenever you call it a private industry. The insurance or lack of for a Nuclear accident is provided by Government at zero cost to those private companies. So if G.E. builds a plant with a fault that renders your home uninhabitable for a 1,000 years you can’t sue them for damages. I’m not necessarily saying this is wrong but it needs to be acknowledged whenever calling any nuclear business “private”.

            1. Mint says:

              That massive subsidy is a fraction of the per-kWh subsidy for renewables, or ignored externalities for coal that the anti-nuclear movment did absolutely jack to stop from becoming the dominant source of power for the last 50 years.

              What examples are there of contained nuclear reactors making anywhere uninhabitable for 1000’s of years?

              Renewables can work in the west, because we can afford to pay a premium for it, and already have backup power built.

              But if you’re a developing country, why would you build 1GW fossil-fuel AND 1GW of renewables to meet new consumption demand when doing just the former suffices? Until we get cheap energy storage ($20/kWh), fossil fuel capacity won’t stop being built.

              We need to resume nuclear R&D, because it’s the only chance we have to counter the developing world catching up to us in energy use per capita.

          2. Dan Hue says:

            The nuclear industry is heavily regulated, and for good reason. That is where the “big government” intrusion comes from, not the fact that the plants are privately operated. As for the limit to growth, it’s not an ideological point. It’s just physics. We are a biological species, and as long as that is true, we rely on the natural ecosystems to survive. We are living on borrowed time because of the shear inertia of the system, but prescient people are sensing the mounting trouble, and that includes climate change.

          3. AndyH says:

            Agreed, the anti-nuclear movement had their chance and completely failed. They failed both mankind and the environment. They are the ones who are to blame for the current US fleet of coal power plants and the new generation of coal plants in Germany.

            It’s beyond time for them to step aside and let the rest of humanity get on with charging our cars by splitting atoms.

      3. Cavaron says:

        Dude, there are right- and leftwing extremists using harsh language and using any argument to prove their point whether its real or not – true, but no reason to become one yourself.

        About the kind of power… well… what would I want in my neighbourhood? Defenately no coal, oil, fracking or nuclear (in all cases mining and burning/using). If you are ok with living near to any of this, fine. I prefere solar, wind, hydro, batteries and maybe some conventional cng.

        Should we ban nuclear completely? No imo, something could come out of fusion research, would be nice for space travel 🙂

        1. Mint says:

          Wind and solar need far more mining than nuclear. I don’t think you understand how little uranium is used to power a nuclear plant.

        2. AndyH says:

          Show me a country that has switched even its electric grid over to solar and wind, and I’ll come over to your side. Until that happens I’ll go with what has worked, and nuclear power has worked for France and can work for us.

          And yes, I do happily live within ten miles of a nuclear plant here in central Missouri. It’s great, my electricity never goes off and I have the pleasure of living around a highly educated workforce and enjoy cheap electricity, and will for decades to come. This makes EVs a very solid investment for me! Can’t say the same for Germans… where electricity costs $.50 a kwh.

      4. Matthias Amrein says:

        Doctor,

        I share your sentiment that we cannot stifle the aspiration of our co-citizens of this beautiful planet for our own ideological gain. Prosperity for all! As well, I dislike as much as you to be ruled by some know-it-all, self-righteous, right or left.

        With respect to energy production, we should impose the costs-by-cause principle, i.e. if we put carbon into the atmosphere, and science tells us this is a problem, we should pay for it to be put back. I have no doubt that this would pass the democratic process anywhere in the free world. A carbon tax would obviously have to be put to exactly that: put the carbon back. Alternatively, the carbon producer could take on the task directly, and do the carbon capture. The costs-by-cause principle would apply to any other energy production, wind, solar, hydro or nuclear. This way, the best technology of the day wins and no harm done.

        That would be peace!

      5. Those of you addressing Noisewater as a Doctor … see this: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Dr.%20Kenneth%20Noisewater

        Not sure why anyone would use that handle, except for shock value. Calling “enviros” the new face of communism seems to ride that same horse, and is patently ridiculous. There are conservatives who believe that we have a responsibility and moral duty to live up to that name, to be stewards of the Earth as is asked of us in the Bible, and to think about future generations even when there is some uncertainty and risk to current conveniences (there isn’t demonstrable evidence that “going green” will cause economic hardship, as countries like Germany, Sweden, Denmark … and others attest). We come from and depend on the natural world, though most of us in the West have gone through some separation process and forgotten that. We will be reminded of it sooner or later.

      6. Trace says:

        Wow! I didn’t know Will Farrell’s right testicle could talk, or that it was such a conspiracy loon.

  4. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

    I disagree with the fundamental idea of the article.

    CARB pushed BEV to lower emissions, then were drawn by the HFCV dream and deals to lower emissions in other way with PZEV and AT-PZEV.

    Significant global government support for PEV then came in the mid-late 2000s with fears of ever-increasing gas prices wreaking economic havoc. (It came along with a push on alternative fuels.) Combine that key point with the awareness of multiple other benefits of PEVs and you had enough momentum to get subsidies, additionally under Democratic political control in the USA.

    AGW/ACC is not the big piece of the pie and truly is a distraction.

    1. Assaf says:

      1. I suggest you leave the US bubble, and check public statements and government policies on the matter in other countries including Japan, where politicians are not in mortal fear of mentioning global warming – and therefore don’t need to put out less-pressing but “less controversial” motivations to mask the issue.

      2. The gas-price issue can be tackled in a zillion different ways, with EVs not necessarily being the most effective in the short-to-medium time frame.

      OTOH, if global warming is prominent, then EVs are far advantageous over, e.g., “Drill Baby Drill” or invading oil-producing countries.

      You are at liberty to continue thinking it is merely a coincidence (or even a distraction?) that governments and businesses around the world have solidified their EV support precisely when global-warming concerns have become so prominent. But the facts do not support that notion, to put it mildly.

      1. Mint says:

        Freaking Bush was the one who instilled the EV rebate in the US. This has nothing to do with fear of mentioning a taboo topic. EVs have legitimate benefits to the economy.

        Even from an environmental POV, the impact on air quality is far more important. As has been mentioned many times by others, CARB’s EV mandate arose from concerns about air quality.

  5. Anon says:

    Until Rednecks realize GW is real, there is God going to save them from it’s effects, and Fox News is banned from mis-reporting facts– they are not going to clamour for offroad EVs to go on long deer hunting trips.

    Most of the technical issues prohibiting mainstream EV adoption are really economic ones. Elon’s gigafactory is a step in the right direction. The other big hurdle, as real as any physical wall, is CULTURE.

    Education can help promote change, but the transition won’t be overnight. And it’s already too late for those who are stuck in their generational filter, to seek out and adopt something better for everyone’s sake.

    I find the lack of course correction on the climate since the 1970’s, to be quite depressing. I remember reading a government climate report issued back in the 1980’s. And everything it said might happen during todays timeline, has. That’s why I generally don’t discuss it. Too damn depressing. We are essentially left with token mitigation of GWs effects, as it’s been too late since the 80”s to prevent or stop it. And Geoengineering is just going to cause other unwanted issues, on top of the huge multinational elephant we all tend to ignore.

    Excuse me while I go outside, lose my sh*t, and cry like a baby… 🙁

    1. Anon says:

      Sorry, I meant “no God”.

      1. Assaf says:

        @Anon,

        Cheer up, all is not lost yet.

        The idea is *not* to use global warming as a talking point for selling EVs to deer-hunting rednecks. That is a comically doomed proposition right now.

        The idea is

        1. To create a safe space for talking/education about global warming among EV enthusiasts.
        2. Embark upon that education.

    2. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

      Back up 10 years earlier, and you’d be crying about Global Cooling (which, given this last winter, is more credible).

      Gimme a break.

      1. Chris says:

        This is related to the cynical change in the shape of the earths orbit. Well known and understood, what you might not realize is we have a couple thousands years left in the current orbit so not a pressing concern my friend. But on the bright side if we pump enough co2 into the atmosphere it would delay the effects of the orbital change for a while.

      2. That Time cover is bogus – it is manipulated.

        1. Spec9 says:

          Wow. That is how low deniers have sunk. The make up fake magazine covers and get suckers to believe it. How sd.

      3. Spec9 says:

        That is really silly. Hey, doctors used to bleed people and put leeches on them so I guess you never go to a hospital because some doctors did that stuff long ago.

        Duh.

      4. Surya says:

        Really? No, really?

        Hint: Time Magazine is not a peer reviewed science magazine.

      5. Yes a fake, see this:

        http://science.time.com/2013/06/06/sorry-a-time-magazine-cover-did-not-predict-a-coming-ice-age/

        It explains the ice-age/global cooling concern of the 70s quite well (that it was basically a theoretical concern, not an observed one).

    3. BraveLilToaster says:

      That’s funny, since today’s freshly-retired senior citizens are the ones who were in their 20’s when the first gas crisis hit. And were still around when the second, third, and fourth crises hit as well.

      They were around when LA had smog that was twice as bad as it is now.

      These are people who have been shouting the message “gas isn’t the solution, it’s the problem” for the past 40 years.

      It’s no wonder that the people buying electrics the most are *not* the 20-30 age group.

  6. Mikael says:

    I’m an environmentalist and EV’s is a part of the solution to fight the global warming. But I feel that it’s a very small part of the solution in the short term and there are so many more important things we can do to reduce fossil fuels.
    The EV’s have so many other more important benefits too so the part of global warming is not really one of the more important things to stress when talking about EV’s.
    And I’m from a place where global warming is a generally accepted fact so talking about it wouldn’t case any problem in the matter of “believing” or not (not that you have any need to believe since scientific facts talk for themselves… it’s like saying you believe in the earth being round… believing is somthing you do when it comes to religions and ghosts and other crazy non-scientific areas).

    1. Assaf says:

      @Mikael,

      I agree that a lot more beyond EVs needs to be done, but disagree that EVs are a negligible part of the picture.

      However, that’s a bit premature for now; how EVs fit in the picture comes in my post #3 (still busy writing #2 right now).

      This post, meanwhile, suggests that many governments, probably most governments in the industrialized world, disagree with you and do see EVs as important for global-warming mitigation. Hence the solidification of global support from them over the past few years.

    2. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

      Wholesale replacement of all coal with modern nuclear would be a good start. Leaving CO2 out of it, you’d still have energy security, reduction of particulates and smog-forming compounds (leading to fewer respiratory ailments and deaths), and ironically enough, a lot less radiation released into the atmosphere. Plus, you would solve freshwater problems forever, since modern high-temp reactors such as LFTR require no water cooling, and in fact could use low-quality waste heat (600c high quality heat for power or other processes, leaving 100c left over) to desalinate water, thus turning from a massive water absorber to a massive water generator.

      Show me an environmentalist who isn’t behind modern nuclear, and I’ll show you a hypocritical moron.

      1. Dr. Yves Trudeau says:

        Yes, nuclear energy emits much less CO2 overall but to think that nuclear can “save” the world is limited, the supply of Uranium is simple not there for 20x more power output. The Uranium prices will skyrocket. Solar and wind, with proper energy storage will be cheaper. And of course, with nuclear, you need to nurse the wastes for some thousand years after and nobody in the nuclear industry counts that.

        I am always amazed by the global warming debate in the US, almost everywhere else, there’s very little debate. I really shouldn’t be amazed though, given the low quality of US media. To bring the Time 1977 article as an argument is, to say the least, weak. The knowledge on climate was extremely limited then and at least they realized the climate wasn’t stable. The US is one of the countries that will face the highest impacts from global warming, a staggering cost, and yet, many of its leaders prefer short term profits to long term benefits.

        A car for me is a just transportation device, I have no emotion regarding cars. My only interest for EVs is global warming, so the article is inline with my thinking.

        1. Dan Hue says:

          Well said. The irony of small governments ideologues and future generations worriers pushing for nuclear energy is lost on Dr. Kenneth Noisewater. The nuclear industry needs government supports for regulation, subsidies, loan guarantees, limited liability protection (i.e., the Price Anderson Act), etc. The waste issue is minimized (hint, everything that nuclear touches becomes waste, not just the fuel rods) and typically swept under the rug.

        2. AndyH says:

          We have hardly explored for Uranium given that the price of it is extremely, extremely low compared to the energy locked away in it. If Uranium doubled or tripled in price the supplies that would be unlocked would be massive. For one, it would become practical to harvest it from seawater, which alone could provide tens of thousands of years of supply at our current usage rates.

          And storage of waste has been addressed very well, the problem is not among nuclear advocates, engineers or power companies, but among politicians who have declared that every waste disposal technique is illegal: Reprocessing, Geological Storage or Deep Bore hole storage could all work.

          As to “small governments ideologues,” Dan Hue should do a bit of research. Pro nuclear people come from all political wings, the nuclear workforce in the US is highly unionized. And the Price Waterhouse act actually increases the available funds and acts as a tax on the nuclear industry, the nuclear industry was doing just fine without it. If only other industries like coal, solar panel manufacturing or natural gas were required to insure against their potential environmental damage. We can always dream, right?

  7. GeorgeS says:

    I don’t mind talking about global warming. I’m convinced it is happening and I am convinced that Homo Sapiens is on a crash course to the second Permean extinction. I also think that our chances of turning this thing around in time are slim to none.

    Now for another thing I don’t think we are going to solve the problem of CO2 emissions with only renewables. We need Nuclear in the equation. The purist greens that think Nuclear is bad are all wrong.

    Nuclear can’t be a part of the solution until we assign a dollar value to CO2 emissions due to the high up front capital cost of a nuclear plant.

    The present proposals of the Obama administration want to put a threshhold value on CO2….ie if you want to put in a plant you need to below this certain limit. This is the wrong way to do it because it will just make all the utilities put in natural gas plants.

    The penalty for CO2 needs to be linear. If you put in a gas plant you still have to pay for your CO2 emissions.

    This is the only fair way to do it. It will also level the playing field for Nuclear.

    So there I have said it. I’m pro Nuclear bring on the negs and then you can start all the silly discussions we have heard before about the waste issue. Oh and what about a bomb> Oooooh no. ….and Fukushima. All bad bad bad. Yawn. get some perspective and get over your pre programmed fear. Because fear is all it is.

    Nuclear needs to be part of the solution.

    1. Assaf says:

      @GeorgeS,

      Important comments but a bit off-topic this post. The “What to do about it and how EVs fit in” will be #3 (I think/hope).

      1. GeorgeS says:

        Sorry Assaf.
        Good post today. Thx for the article.

    2. Anon says:

      The Nuclear Power problem is, the Uranium Lobby won. There are better ways to generate nuclear power than using a rare and expensive element thats prone to cause meltdowns with current water boiler or graphite based designs. And history has given us multiple examples of catastrophic and near catastrophic reactor failures. Those events stick in the collective conscious for a very long time. And cleaning up after a meltdown is far easier said than done. Ask the Russians and Japanese…

      Exploration of Pollywell Fusion and Thorium based powerplants, should be where the DOE needs to be focusing and investing in R&D. Uranium has to stop being the poster boy for the nuclear power industry. Its time is over.

    3. islandboy says:

      “Nuclear can’t be a part of the solution until we assign a dollar value to CO2 emissions due to the high up front capital cost of a nuclear plant.”

      As a big supporter of renewable, from an island where” the smallest commercially available nuclear power plants would probably exceed the peak demand, I just wanted to point out that the same argument can be made for renewables.

      Fact is, homo sapiens hit the energy jackpot when we discovered fossil fuels and a small cohort has become very wealthy and influential from mining these resources. It is widely understood outside the US that, the wealth and influence of this movement has fueled the denial side considerably.

      The “corporate persons” (businesses) that depend on the use of fossil fuels for their income are not going to sit idly by and let anybody marginalize their business. Hence the orchestrated disinformation campaigns on climate change and hate campaigns on “greenies” and anything that might mitigate climate change, including evs. The opposition to any schemes to put a price on emissions will remain fierce.

  8. Scott Franco says:

    Nobody believes global warming is true, including the readers of this site.

    The proof is simple. GW will ruin the planet, and we are rapidly reaching the “point of no return” when even cleaning up %100 will not fix it, right?

    So if you believe the end of the world is coming, then you would be changing everything to get rid of carbon emissions. Bye bye gas car, lawnmower, blower. Bye bye anything made that emits carbon (including, apparently, milk: cows emit carbon).

    Yet nobody is doing that. Even global warming alarmists drive gas cars and use carbon emission made products. In fact, what the GW crowd does mainly is lecture OTHER people on how carbon is ruining the earth. While doing little themselves about it. For example Obama flying out to silicon valley to lecture us on a huge, private, carbon emitting jet.

    You wanted political, I got your political.

    1. Assaf says:

      @Scott,

      Hi, I was hoping you’ll engage here. It’s always entertaining 🙂

      You probably missed the place in the post that directly addresses your comment. Here it is again.

      ” But I must acknowledge that the global-warming catastrophe (which I’ll treat in greater detail in subsequent posts) is rather like the proverbial pot of water that heats up gradually enough for the frogs swimming in it to avoid noticing they are being cooked alive (especially when so many ‘opinion-shapers’ are telling them it’s not really happening). ”

      Please let me know if this helps explain things for you.

      1. Scott Franco says:

        The difference between frogs and people is that people are intelligent, or supposed to be.

        I don’t honestly have a dog in the GW fight. I grew up in Los Angeles, and became convinced that the air quality was taking years off my life. I consider myself an environmentalist because I love the outdoors and think we should preserve nature for our enjoyment or simply because it is the right thing to do. Dumping your waste in your own water supply, or dumping your waste in the air that you breathe certainly displays frog mentality.

        We actually have made many strides in my (considerable) lifetime that perhaps the kids don’t appreciate. I’ll list a few.

        – It used to be standard to litter the streets, beaches and forests. When I grew up, throwing things out of your car window when you were done with it was considered normal. We have seen a sea change in attitudes about this.

        – Gas cars had no pollution controls whatever. The car makers, yes with government pressure, have cleaned up car emissions greatly.

        – Carbon and other toxic emissions have been reduced greatly just in the last 10 years, largely due to switching from coal to natural gas for power generation. This occurred mainly from the fracking revolution, a fact that drives eco nuts apoplectic.

        In California, at least, the last 10 years have been a revolution. We reduced coal use to low (%1) levels and greatly increased renewables. Both solar panel use and EV use here is Silicon Valley has taken off, and even though it is still at a low level, it grows in use every day and everyone talks about it. I have my electric car and plan to go completely solar driven in the next few years.

        So you will excuse me if I find it funny that I, a red neck global warming denier, am doing more about carbon emissions than any GW alarmists I know.

        1. Spec9 says:

          Scott, it is a bit sad that your environmental views are limited to what you can see. Yes, it was great that we cleaned up the smog and cleaned up the litter. But it can’t stop there . . . that would be useless if we just went on to breathe in health destroying amounts of arsenic, lead, mercury, etc. But you seem to fall into the trap of “out of sight, out of mind.” Climate change is something that can be seen but I guess you won’t worry about it because it largely happens on time scales that you don’t care about.

          1. Anon says:

            Sample Bias is pretty normal for most folks…

            You see it when there is a blizzard of epic proportions, yet its used as an example that “GW is fake, ’cause it happens to be really cold where I am.”

            And the big picture, including all the unseen myriad of smaller (yet just as important) details, relationships, causalities and outcomes– are quietly swept under the rug…

            🙁

          2. Scott Franco says:

            You’re right, and that is the difference between GW alarmists and others. If we clean up the USA, good-o. If china does not, and kills their citizens, am sad, but I don’t think the world is going to end because of it. They are hurting themselves. To what extent we are complicit with the Chinese government damaging their environment, sure, that’s a problem. I would rather not buy things that are directly going to hurt people.

            So here I am in short sighted California. But notice: A lot of what happens in California spreads to the rest of the United States. And what happens in the USA gets copied around the world. So there is your revolution.

      2. sven says:

        “Please let me know if this helps explain things for you.”

        Assaf, the condescending and arrogant tone of your comments towards others makes you come across as a bit of an ass, and doesn’t help convince people to agree with your views on global warming.

        1. Assaf says:

          @sven,

          Scott’s comment was rather rude, disrespectful and disruptive.

          It is a valid question whether it merits a response at all. After all, I have other stuff to do on a Sunday than answer every trollish provocation.

          I chose to respond with a bit of humor. That apparently is too much for your rather selective sensitivity.

          speaking of which: and what, precisely, is the role of your comment in this story? Do you find it constructive to gratuitously call the post author “an ass”? Does it promote dialogue?

          Happy Sunday, Assaf

        2. Clif says:

          I agree sven. Assaf, in my humble opinion, you wrote the article…now sit back, shut up, and let people voice their opinions. Don’t keep popping in and telling everybody either their opinions are wrong or don’t follow your topic, or they missed something. It’s rude.

          And Franco, not everybody ignores science. Climate change IS real! If you don’t think so, then go buy some beachfront property in Florida and agree to keep it for 10 years. Then if your beachfront property isn’t 5-10 feet under water you can tell everybody that climate change is not real.

          Three things will make it possible for EV’s to be used by most everyone nationwide. An affordable price for the little guy; range in excess of 300 miles; and nationwide superchargers like Tesla’s that can charge to 80% in 20 minutes or less (or battery swap at affordable costs).

          Only the production of electricity (38%) produces more carbon dioxide than transportation (32%). Granted, these numbers are for the U.S., but taken together, increased solar electricity production and EVs could eliminate 70% of carbon dioxide production in the United States alone.

          EVs and solar power ARE a crucial element in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions that have an adverse affect on climate change.

          Enjoy your day everyone.

          1. Assaf says:

            Clif hi,

            There are differing etiquettes regarding the post author’s role. Where I come from, the author is encouraged/expected to hang around, answer comments and chaperone the discussion.

            Regardless, it is certainly my right to respond to comments that distort/disrespect what I wrote.

            1. Scott Franco says:

              Seconded.

    2. GeorgeS says:

      @Scott,

      Your right.

      It’s a hopeless case for Homo Sapiens.

      Oh well they won’t be missed.
      They will only be a black smudge in the archeological data.

      1. Spec9 says:

        Well . . . if we all think like he does, it sure will be.

    3. John Hollenberg says:

      The solution to GHG emissions is not going to come about by personal virtue of individuals, but by government policies that put a price on carbon commensurate with the damage it is doing. Still, climate change is the main reason I bought my Leaf 3 years ago, and the main reason I purchase renewable energy only (no place for solar panels on the condo roof).

    4. Hi Scott,

      “Nobody believes global warming is true, including the readers of this site.”

      One doesn’t “believe” in science. Science is our best understanding of reality. The reality is that anthropogenic climate change is all too real. Science is fact, whether or not you “believe” in it.

      “The proof is simple. GW will ruin the planet, and we are rapidly reaching the “point of no return” when even cleaning up %100 will not fix it, right?”

      We have not passed the point of no return – and we do need to engage to slow and eventually stop using all fossil fuels.

      “So if you believe the end of the world is coming, then you would be changing everything to get rid of carbon emissions. Bye bye gas car, lawnmower, blower. Bye bye anything made that emits carbon (including, apparently, milk: cows emit carbon).”

      Cows emit carbon, it’s true but that misses the point: the important thing is where does the carbon come from? If it came from the plants that were eaten, and in turn those plants got it from the air – then emitting it back into the air has no effect on the overall long term level of carbon in the air. It is only carbon that is (re)introduced into the air after being sequestered underground for millions and millions of years – only fossil carbon adds to the level of carbon in the air.

      By the way, I have all electric yard and lawn tools, and so I am not going to give anything up by going to electricity – which can and will come only from renewable energy sources.

      “Yet nobody is doing that. Even global warming alarmists drive gas cars and use carbon emission made products. In fact, what the GW crowd does mainly is lecture OTHER people on how carbon is ruining the earth. While doing little themselves about it. For example Obama flying out to silicon valley to lecture us on a huge, private, carbon emitting jet.”

      We have to start from where we are! We can’t solve this challenge instantly – that is true. But does that mean it is not possible, or that we shouldn’t try? You are right that we often try to shift the blame to others, but the sooner we realize that we in this situation together with everybody else on earth, the better.

      I apologize for any typos or other errors in advance – I made this window larger in an attempt to see it all, but it is acting wonky …

      Sincerely, Neil

      1. Assaf says:

        @Neil,

        wow, you are beginning to scoop my post #2… well, at least you are getting it regarding the (mis-)use of “believe” w.r.t to scientific descriptions of reality.

        Thanks for pitching in!

      2. Scott Franco says:

        “Cows emit carbon, it’s true but that misses the point: the important thing is where does the carbon come from? If it came from the plants that were eaten, and in turn those plants got it from the air – then emitting it back into the air has no effect on the overall long term level of carbon in the air.”

        Then you are ok with oil use too, since that came from plants that died and decayed.

        Sorry I just had to put that one out there.

        I admit I went carbon nuts on my yard tools originally. I did it because the electric tools I bought were seriously useless. However, some of the Lion tools that are coming on the market can actually get more horsepower than is available from the wall outlet by basically concentrating the energy in the pack. Now the only problem is they are crazy expensive, but that will change.

  9. Warren says:

    The growth in GHG, and the problems it is creating, is just the latest in a long list of troubles. The discovery of the basic laws of science, over a hundred years ago, demonstrated the impossibility of infinite growth in a finite system. We have the same basic drives as bacteria; reproduce and use up all the resources. Our large computational capacity doesn’t appear capable of overcoming the prime directives. Put another way:

    http://www.artofeurope.com/shakespeare/sha9.htm

  10. Anderlan says:

    It’s backwards from the way it should be:

    FIRST, EVs, solar, wind, grid storage, and efficiency must really start to eat into the domination of coal and oil&gas.

    SECOND, we can ask Congress to enact a moral fee on pollution. No one thinks dumping toxins into a river should happen without a heavy penalty to the criminals that do it. Similarly, burning coal and oil&gas IS pollution, and pollution should not be free. No one would disagree. If the harm is substantial (taking all of our contributions together), then the penalty should be huge (but distributed to all of us exactly according to our contribution).

    But that’s not the end of the story. Any pollution fee can and must be accompanied by a 100% equal dividend to everyone or a broadly equal tax holiday. Perhaps payroll tax holiday. I’d even give the 1% an extra large cut of the dividend in the form of an investment tax decrease–for a while. The dividend or tax holiday would only last until fossil energy was decimated in the market.

    To those people who say ‘this is crazy, it’ll never happen’: I don’t accept your argument. You are your own enemy with that kind of thinking and you should probably not wake up tomorrow and help us all out unless you want to change your attitude. That’s really the only argument I ever hear against this. Defeatism. Fatalism. It makes me want to scream and start knocking heads together. Fatalists: you are officially stripped of your rights as citizens. By me, and all other people without dead souls like you.

    1. GeorgeS says:

      “SECOND, we can ask Congress to enact a moral fee on pollution.”

      Ask away. your wasting your breath.

      I don’t think congressional approval is required.

      Since CO2 has been declared a pollutant the EPA can create its own rules to control it.

      Article today in NYT.

      Looks like Obama and the EPA are going to announce something in June.

  11. Cosmacelf says:

    This is the stupidest article ever written on InsideEV. Don’t worry, if all your global warming articles are as dumb as this analysis, then you won’t be offending anyone, as no one will read them.

    EVs will start to become commonplace when Tesla releases its Gen III car. It is as simple as that. No one else is doing the advanced research to bring out a cheap, capable EV, only Tesla.

    Belief in global warming is not required. Thank god., since that is a crock of horsesh*t anyways.

    Go ahead and reduce your readership if you want by writing more articles like this, but, really, global warming belief isn’t related to how well EVs do.

    1. Assaf says:

      @Cosmacelf

      You are providing a first-hand textbook example why so many people are afraid of talking about global warming.

      No one likes to be jumped upon with such unbridled hate by some total stranger acting like a 4-year-old playground bully.

      This culture has to change. There should be no acceptance for such behavior in forums like this. It must become a safe space for discussing global warming.

      And btw, seems like the discussion is pretty lively so I assume readership of this post is not half-bad. Even you couldn’t keep your fingers off that keyboard.

      1. Cosmacelf says:

        No hate, just heartfelt opinion.

    2. Scott Franco says:

      Then don’t read the article if it is “stupid”. I notice that didn’t (apparently) prevent you from reading it.

      Assaf stepped up to the plate and wrote and article. Good job.

  12. Spec9 says:

    I don’t think climate change is a major factor in driving EV sales. I think there are other things like:
    1) Fear of oil depletion. Oil prices surged in the late 2000s. If the price of oil in 2000 only went up by the base rate of inflation, it would be in the $30s/barrel range. Instead it is around $100/barrel. That pushed a lot of people to get off oil due to its instability. But right now we are riding a plateau of around $100/barrel to shale fracking, tar sands, and deepwater oil that was not economic at $30/barrel. Some people say that ‘peak oil is dead’. Nonsense. If the current oil boom was a real oil boom then it would drive prices down. But it hasn’t . . . because it can’t. The reverse it true, the only reason for this boom is the higher prices.
    2) Disgust at the oil industry damages . . . the Exxon Valdez, the Gulf of Mexico oil leak, the non-stop oil spills in Nigeria, Canadian tar sands that look like a moonscape, and all the emissions from burning that oil. Many don’t want to contribute to that.
    3) Disgust at oil wars. The Gulf War. The Iraq war. The massive military presence to keep the Persian Gulf open. Why should we spill our blood and spend so much money for oil when we really don’t need it.
    4) Disgust at many of the oil dictators. Chavez. Saddam Hussein. Ghadaffi. The repressive Saudis. The Iranian Mullahs. Central Asian stan-state dictators. Vladimir Putin. Good-for-nothing Jonathan. Why send your dollars to these creeps? Yeah, many get deposed or killed . . . but they are often just replaced with another dictator or corrupt government.

    1. Mark H says:

      Wow! Late to the party. It is mother’s day and all. GW is not the only reason driving EVs but as Assaf points out it is naive to deny that it has nothing to do with the credits and success of EVs.

      There is another issue that has nothing to do with GW, but I hope is mentioned in the next article and that is the cost of health care issues in the form of increased respiratory issues. That is unless we want to deny health physician’s findings as well as environmental scientist. I guess my profession “engineering” is next to be denied. I probably am closest to scott franco with one exception. Fiscal conservative, red neck, that “does” believe in global warming. We do have diversity here at InsideEVs.

      1. Mark H says:

        http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/
        7 million die prematurely to air pollution. 1-in-1000 is still part of the cost of cheap fossil fuel.

      2. Mark H says:

        Just sent the author to the moon by writing “believe”. Old vernacular is hard to break. What once was theory, the scientific community had now declared fact. Again, getting off point of the article.

  13. scottf200 says:

    I saw this video a while ago and really liked the perspective. Is it a risk (experiment) worth taking. 4 square grid on choices.

    The Most Terrifying Video You’ll Ever See

    1. GeorgeS says:

      pretty good video Scott!!

  14. GeorgeS says:

    Just as a data point.

    I was active in a blog that I won’t name.
    This blog, at first, discussed the issue of weather man made global warming was real or not.

    The blog was over ridden with people from both sides bickering, fighting, out right hatred from both sides.

    After a while the person hosting the Blog (a phD and professor) finally made a rule.:

    No more posts could be made as to whether AGW was true or not were allowed. They simply got deleted by the host.

    Only posts were allowed that focussed on logical ways to “take action.”….or as in Scott’s video column A.

    Discussions as to the validity of AGW are not as productive as discussions about the actions….

    The discussion needs to move on to a higher level.

    1. Scott Franco says:

      How boring…..

    2. Ambulator says:

      Yeah, “is it warming or not?” is getting pretty boring. What we should do about it is much more interesting. Most of us will agree that EVs are part of the solution, but what else?

  15. Josephus says:

    Assaf,

    I’m in the situation you describe. People who know me, know I “sell” my EV a lot. Love talking about it. But my wife and I conciously avoid the GW issue, especially around her dad. lol.

    Interested in your next two posts!

  16. GRA says:

    I have a very simple rationale for not devoting any energy to discussing AGW on EV forums. Many of us have talked it to death in other forums, and as the comments above show, whichever side you’re on it’s unlikely that you will be convinced by any arguments from the other side. In short, this a matter of faith, not logic, and only self-conversion is possible.

    That being the case, why waste the time and energy in a diversion which can only be divisive, when there are several other excellent reasons we can all agree on to transition to EVs? Those who believe in AGW will already be aware of the advantages EVs have for decreasing GHGs, and can add that to their reasoning without feeling the need to disparage anyone who holds different views; everyone else has one or more good reasons to push the adoption of EVs.

    1. Mark Hovis says:

      There is some rationale to that, but I don’t think any topic should be off limits. With over 5000 posts and 72,000 comments here this topic is less than 1%. This site responds to the news cycle and with last weeks report it is appropriate to have an op ed. The report states that it is the conclusion of the global environmental scientific community that GW is no longer theory but fact. Not sure how you buy off 97% of the Chinese scientist, German scientist, Korean scientist, Brazilian scientist etc., Global agreement on anything is pretty amazing.

      On a side note a pole was made here in my state of North Carolina on whether or not you were in favor of renewable state credits. 92% of democrats were in favor. 80% of independents, and 76% of republicans were in favor. With such rare agreement, the lobbyist have still managed to have our state government consider ending the policies. Government for the people?

      On a lighter note the site also saluted mothers day too.

      1. Assaf says:

        @Mark thank you for voicing some of the “editorial board position”.

        @GRA your case against discussing global warming in EV circles rests upon two fallacies:

        1. That opinion on global warming is an issue of faith.
        2. That (nearly?) everyone is already polarized and “baked-in”, therefore further talk is futile.

        Start from #2: I believe (and there’s quite a bit of polling data to support it) that most Americans are somewhere in the middle on global warming. Moreover, a large chunk of this majority is woefully unfamiliar with the factual/scientific basis for global warming.

        And #1: while most of us have some elements of faith bundled into our world view, global warming itself is a *scientific* (not ideological, political or religious) description of reality. That’s why nearly all climate scientists are solidly on one side of that debate.

        Combine #1 and #2, with the fact this site’s readers are already more open to hear about this than ICE drivers, and there’s a golden opportunity for a respectful, fact-based description of what global warming is and how EVs play into the issue.

        Since as I made the case here, global warming mitigation is central to the renaissance of EVs, there should be interest in that from the EV perspective.

        1. GRA says:

          I disagree with you re belief or disbelief in AGCC being a matter of faith (or if you prefer, dogma). While the majority of people in the U.S. may be in the middle, people who are more likely to be interested in EVs are generally much better informed about such matters than the general public, and their opinions tend to very firmly held. Having been involved in such discussions going back at least 15 years, and seen all the vitriol generated and the distraction from the prime topic(s), I prefer to concentrate on issues where people can be convinced by evidence, as opposed to those in which their viewpoints are firmly entrenched and not susceptible to argument. I see little evidence of a respectful, fact-based discussion in the comments above; IME, even when such discussions start respectfully, they inevitably devolve into polemics. YMMV.

          Given a choice, I find it more valuable not to beat my head against a wall, and concentrate on areas where reason isn’t so intertwined with dogma. There are numerous sites where people can go to argue about AGCC; I see no reason to ride the same merry-go-round here, but to each their own.

  17. ydnas7 says:

    firstly, credit where credit is due

    the $7500 rebate is due to George Bush and national security, and national mercantilism. The Chinese rebates would add to those qualities, air quality improvement. And China is THE reason why the German automakers are adding plugs to vehicles (sorry California, its not you)

    the $7500 rebate is responsible for the overwhelming majority of plugin vehicles to be sold in America. Ie LEAFs and Volts

    even Gerogia’s $5000 rebate is about national security, and state mercantilism.

    Tesla’s motivation is originated from CO2 concern, and Tesla is the poster child for EVs.

    California’s CARB mandate is due to atmospheric pollution (ie not CO2)otherwise they would just exclude H2 fuel cells from the legislation as H2 reforming form natural gas is its logical source of H2 and its high in CO2 emissions.
    Ie H2 from renewable energy uses about 3x more electricity than using it straight from the battery.

  18. ydnas7 says:

    ‘why waste the time and energy in a diversion which can only be divisive’

    +1

    answer, to repel the EV buyers who dissent?

  19. Thomas J. Thias says:

    The Electric Fueled Vehicle Marketer has entered the arena!

    Thank You Mr. Assaf for your contribution today.

    However, an undertone of your piece echoes many an Electric Fueled Vehicle Industry critic’s baseline arguement.

    As you innocently and naively state in your opening:

    “[…]Nowadays it seems that every automaker who seriously puts their mind to it, produces an EV that wins awards and accolades that *can* become a jewel in its crown if it so wishes (GM, are you listening?).
    So… why haven’t EVs become more popular earlier? And why are they still just barely coming out of the fringe in most countries, and still on the fringe in many others?

    Well, the nature of human society is that Technology B being objectively better than Technology A is rarely reason enough to replace A – in case A is the convenient, familiar incumbent.[…]”

    And-

    “[…]Back to EVs and in particular BEVs. Sadly enough, as long as BEV ranges and charge times/locations are limited the way they are today (except for vehicles whose price is far beyond the average consumer’s reach), BEVs cannot use #2 to break the ICE domination, surely not while makers and consumers pay the full price of tech development. And PHEV/EREV solutions are even more expensive.[…]”

    These are arguments that I have been fighting aggressively in CyberSpace and in print since the Modern Electric Fueled Vehicle Era began, so long ago, in November, 2011. lol!

    I Cite the November, 2011 date as the birth of the Modern Electric Fueled Vehicle Industry as this is the month and year that the Chevy Volt EREV and Nissan LEAF left limited area beta release and National Sales began.

    Ignoring for the moment your major premise, the inclusion of the Climate Change angle I will counter your premis that the Electrictric Fueled Vehicle Industry is anything but robustly accelerating market penetration.

    MY POINTS-

    1) Amazingly enough, in just the 30 months that Volt EREV and LEAF left beta sales, over 201,724 culmative retail sales, all makes, USA, have been achieved!

    I find this stunning as I have been tracking the advancement of the Chevy Volt Extended Range Electric Vehicle since its debut as vaporware at the NAIAS of 2007.

    Link Goes To Plug In America – EV Ticker-

    http://www.pluginamerica.org/

    2) Navigant Research is projecting total world cumilitive sales if EVs and PHEVs to eclipse the 20,000,000 mark by 2020. While not a great percentage of worldwide sales this projected volume is amazing in and of itself.

    Link goes To “Nearly 22 Million Electric Vehicles Will Be Sold from 2012 to 2020, Forecasts Navigant Research” WSJ – April 19th, 2013-

    http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20130419-904887.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

    About Navigant Research
    Navigant Research, the dedicated research arm of Navigant, provides market research and benchmarking services for rapidly changing and often highly regulated industries. In the energy sector, Navigant Research focuses on in-depth analysis and reporting about global clean technology markets. The team’s research methodology combines supply-side industry analysis, end-user primary research and demand assessment, and deep examination of technology trends to provide a comprehensive view of the Smart Energy, Smart Utilities, Smart Transportation, Smart Industry, and Smart Buildings sectors. Additional information about Navigant Research can be found at http://www.navigantresearch.com.

    3) While I maintain a dedicated ‘All For One And One For All’ attitude when it comes to the surging World Electric Fueled Vehicle Industry, with the exception of the Toyota pathetic, EPA rated, 6 mile all electric range of the Prius PI and the now discontinued Tesla/Toyota Rav 4 alliance, I will always promote the EFV’s over the Alternative Fueled Gas and Diesel Vehicles.

    The fact that I am a primary proponent of the Chevy Volt Extended Range Electric Vehicle and the GM Electric Fueled Vehicle Patforms only adds to my promotion of this growing field.

    You state in the quoted fields above that most Electric Fueled Vehicles are on the fringes.

    Let us see how just one of the current available models, the Chevy Volt EREV stacks up to a 23 car field of the best upscale midsized cars in the world.

    According to the publishing powerhouse, Us News and World Report, in its highly quoted and sought after Best, “Ranking Lists”, in the ‘Best Cars’ category, the Chevy Volt Extended Range Electric Vehicle has held its own over the last 3 years on the leader board of “Best Upscale Midsized Cars”.

    Since the spring of 2011 the Chevy Volt has ranked with the likes of the Acura TL, Lexus IS, Audi A5, BMW 4 and Cadillac CTS, just to name a few.

    From a high post of third best to a low of thirteenth, currently, of 23 rated, the Chevy Volt EREV is rated on this dynamic leaderboard at #8 th best in the world, tied with the Mercedes Benz C-Class!

    Now this is a mainstream Extended Range Electric Vehicle!

    Link Goes To US News – “Best Upscale Midsized Cars” Leaderboard-

    http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/rankings/Upscale-Midsize-Cars/

    4) The Fleet-

    In the just 30 months since Chevy Volt EREV and Nissan LEAF; Tesla Motors in the last 16 months representing the first wave of the surging Electric Fueled Vehicle Industry the second wave is now apon us with BMW, Kia, Audi, Mitsubishi, Mercedes Benz, VW, Via Motors and other world players comming on line in the near term.

    While Toyota, Honda and Hyundai are persuing Hydrogen/ Helium, lol, dream cars, this second wave legimates the rise of the World Electric Fueled Vehicle Industry today.
    Link Goes To Plug In Cars- “Cars.”

    http://www.plugincars.com/cars

    5) I am guilty of your blog premise. I will not evoke Climate Change when promoting the Electric Fueled Vehicle Industry and here is why.

    Since the North American Auto Show and the reveal of the concept Chevy Volt EREV the attacks on this vehicle and General Motors have been relentless and intense.

    The Chevy Volt EREV has been the point man in the trenches to the point that then CEO Dan Ackerson acknowledged in the US Congressional, Issa hearings of the spring of 2012 that the Chevy Volt had become a political punching bag!

    The Nissan LEAF, not part of any partial US Government assistence, of course, during the world fiancial collapse of 2008/2009, remained in the shadows ramping up market share as the first wave rolled on.

    Finally, to suggest that I, as an intense promoter of the World Electric Fueled Vehicle Industry and the Chevy Volt Extended Range Electric Vehicle in particular, evoke the Climate Benefits of using Electric Fuel over the alternatives fuels of gasoline and diesel askes me to move from educating and promoting to defending a cause that, while helpful to our cause will not make a major dent for years to come and will only serve to alienate potential customers openless to learn.

    …Except for one angle. Here it is. For bout a buck a day I can drive 40 or so miles in my Chevy Volt EREV in mild to warm weather, suburban driving, commuting.

    If a gallon of alternative fuel, such as gasoline, is going locally at $4.00 a gallon, this means that for the cost of a gallon of gas I can drive 160 miles in my Chevy Volt, warm weather, suburban driving.

    This efficency is not limited to the Chevy Volt EREV and I suspect similar electric fuel savings using any of the first or second wave Electric Fueled Vehicles that I posted above.

    6) In closing, here is a look at actual OnStar data of my Chevy Volt EREV and a sample of just 1.8% of Volt Owners and Lessees in North America.

    1st Link Goes To My Volt Stats- Click On Gas Tank To See That My First Tank Of Gas Lasted 10,000 Miles-

    97% EV

    29,230 Robust Miles Driven

    615 MPG > Saving $200 Month Using Electric Fuel Over Alternative Gasoline/Diesel Fuel, Have Saved $5,000 in Alternative Fuel, Gasoline, Over The Last 25 Months!

    http://www.voltstats.net/Stats/Details/1068

    2nd Link Goes To Volt Stats- Data Page- Fleet Fuel Economy Total, 123.28 MPG

    http://www.voltstats.net/

    Epilog: The Cost of the Electric Fueled Vehicle has reduced greatly as the 1st wave moves into the 2nd wave.

    The Chevy Volt EREV lease started in the spring of 2011 at $399.00 a month, 12,000 miles a year with $2,699 up front.

    With cost reductions in engeneering and manufacturing the lease payment had dropped to $359.00 month, 12,000 miles a year with $2,490.00 up front by March of 2012. This is when I jumped in.

    The $5,000 MSRP drop of the 2014MY Chevy Volt EREV, echoed by Nissan, Ford Mitsubishi and others reflected better engineering and economys of scale in manufacturing.

    As the costs to build has further dropped the Chevy Volt EREV lease now stands at $269.00, 12,000 miles a year with $2,679.00 up front.

    For me to lease now, saving $200.00 a month in fuel costs I could now brag that I was almost driving a Chevy Volt Extended Range Electric Vehicle for free!

    Link Goes To Chevy Volt EREV National Products Page-

    http://www.chevrolet.com/volt-electric-car.html

    Thank you Mr. Assaf for listening!

    Best-
    Thomas J. Thias
    Sundance Chevrolet Inc.
    517-749-0532
    Twitter.com/AmazingChevVolt

  20. kdawg says:

    “1 Absent government subsidies to automakers and consumers, EV production and EV sales would have been nowhere near where they are now”
    ———-
    Tesla was a huge motivation for GM, and GM’s actions were a huge motivation for others. I don’t think Tesla was relying on Gov. subsidies, however they did get a Gov. loan.

    It would’ve been interesting to see what the EV landscape would have been like w/out any government intervention. We can only guess. (not to bring up a GM bankruptcy debate, but that would have been a huge x-factor)

  21. Nelson says:

    Who can answer the following questions?
    While driving an ICE car 70mph for 1 hour, how much heat is dispersed into the air through the radiator, engine and exhaust?
    How does that compare when driving a Model S at the same speed for the same amount of time?

    NPNS! SBF!
    Volt#671

  22. Spec9 says:

    John Oliver did a great job explaining why this whole climate change ‘debate’ is so incredibly stupid:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjuGCJJUGsg

    1. kdawg says:

      LOL, that was good.

  23. Warren says:

    If every suburbanite drives a 3500 pound EV using 250-300 Wh/mi, when will the Antarctic stop melting?

    http://www.nasa.gov/press/2014/may/nasa-uci-study-indicates-loss-of-west-antarctic-glaciers-appears-unstoppable/#.U3J3xoFdWSo

  24. EnerGT says:

    Debating AGW is useless for now. When I hear that 97% of scientists agree, I simply wonder who polled the scientists. It won’t convince me. I also believe the debate will hurt, not help, the sales of EVs in the U.S. Deniers simply don’t want to be called ‘greenies’ by their friends. I saw a Leaf in Atlanta a few weeks ago with a “Coal-fueled” bumper sticker on it as evidence. So please stick with the ‘what’s in it for me’ approach when promoting EVs. Having said that, I love my C-Max Energi and am happy that I am not contributing (as much) to CO2e emissions as my previous ICE.

    But if you are a AGW believer, then I highly suggest you put your money where your mouth is to support the most efficient solutions to reduce global carbon emissions.

    – 3 billion people cook over open fires for their primary source of food. Over 80% of these people live in Asia.
    – A three-stone fire produces 5.3 metric tons of CO2e each year. The average car produces 5.1 metric tons by comparison.
    – 2 million people die from indoor smoke each year related to cook fires.

    If we want to attack AGW, EVs can help but if every car in the U.S. were a Tesla, we still wouldn’t make a dent in AGW if you don’t address open fire cooking.

    Here is one really cool product that reduces the CO2e from cook fires by 91%. It also reduces smoke by 94%. It uses 50% less fuel (i.e. wood) to create the same heat required to cook AND it also produces electricity as a bi-product.

    http://www.biolitestove.com/homestove/overview/

    Government funding would be much more useful attacking the CO2e created by open fires than directed towards EV products.

    BTW – I have no affiliation whatsoever with this company other than I use their products when camping.