Video: Natural Gas Advocate T. Boone Pickens Supports Electric Vehicles

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 29

Natural gas advocate T. Boone Pickens is out there at it once again.  This time though, there’s some discussion from T. Boone on the role of plug-in vehicles.

EVs Have a Small Role...Says T. Boone

EVs Have a Small Role…Says T. Boone

As it turns out, T. Boone has no problem with electric vehicles (as long as they are US-made, that is).

However, T. Boone sees only a limited reach for electric vehicles.  As T. Boone wrote on the Huffington Post:

“People always ask me, “Are electric vehicles the answer?” The truth is as long as you don’t want to haul anything or go too far, they sure are. Remember—I’m for anything American, and that includes electric vehicles.”

“But an electric battery won’t power an 18-wheeler. Just like 18-wheelers, locomotives can’t move on a battery. Neither can a barge or a ship. Big users require a combustion engine, and combustion engines run on one of two fuels: imported diesel or domestic natural gas. That’s why I’m pushing America to switch to cleaner, cheaper, domestic natural gas.”

Of course, T. Boone will always push for natural gas, as that’s what he’s long done.  However, his admittance that electric vehicles have a role and that he supports them is something we’d never have imagined Pickens saying in the past.

Source: Huffington Post

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29 responses to "Video: Natural Gas Advocate T. Boone Pickens Supports Electric Vehicles"

  1. David Murray says:

    Coal is a domestic resource and it is cheap. That’s all that should matter to Boone.

    1. Aaron says:

      But he doesn’t have any stake in coal… 😉

  2. Nelson says:

    I guess Mr. Pickens has never heard of nuclear powered submarines or Nimitz-class carriers.

    From Wikipedia:
    “Instead of the gas turbines or diesel-electric systems used for propulsion on many modern warships, the carriers use two A4W pressurized water reactors which drive four propeller shafts and can produce a maximum speed of over 30 knots (56 km/h) and maximum power of around 260,000 shp (190 MW). As a result of the use of nuclear power, the ships are capable of operating for over 20 years without refueling and are predicted to have a service life of over 50 years.”


    1. Spec says:

      I hope you are not suggesting nuclear powered trucks.

  3. Dan Frederiksen says:

    Big users require a nuclear power plant.
    thorium powered container ships. it would be awesome.

    1. Steven says:

      I agree, until… “Iceberg off the starboard bow!”

      1. Dan Frederiksen says:

        You mean like an oil bulk carrier.
        A sunken thorium reactor could probably be designed to be completely harmless to environment. and maybe try something crazy like don’t sail into stuff. should be possible with synthetic vision and autopilot.

  4. Bill Howland says:

    @David Murray

    There’s nothing in it for Pickens if people use Coal. So he’s dead set against Coal. Same as Al Gore – besides the Carbon Credits that have made him wealthy beyond his wildest dreams, there is also nothing in it for Occidental, which he also has a large interest if people use coal.

    I greatly distrust Pickens because he is quietly buying up water rights all over the place, and I’m sure he will sell it back to you at a very very elevated price.

    Oh well, I guess I can flush my toilets with Bottled Water at $10 / gallon if worse comes to worst.

      1. Bill Howland says:

        Yeah, I’m fighting Fracking here in the Northeast also. The only water they leave for you is contaminated or radioactive. Housing values after fracking started in Butler Country dropped by an order of magnitude.

        1. Rick says:

          An order of magnitude? You’ve lost 90% on your house? That’s harsh.

    1. Rick says:

      Or just use wastewater from your shower or washer for free. Or rainwater from your roof. Or dig a well. Geez, you can’t fault the man for trying to make a buck.

  5. Dan Frederiksen says:

    He’s an old fool.

  6. Spec says:

    At his advanced age and already very large wealth, I feel T-Boone Pickens is not just being a huckster for his personal financial interests. He actually does care about the good of the country.

    And his plans have shown it. He proposed more use of wind for electricity generation and more use of natural gas as a domestic transport fuel. It makes sense to me. Natural gas is a great idea for trucking. And light-duty commuter vehicles work well on battery-electric since they don’t go far and it is much easier to install and maintain an EVSE in a home than a NG filling system that is expensive and requires annual maintenance.

    1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      He is in natural gas. Cynicism says he wants anything that increase the demand for natural gas, because currently it’s almost treated as a waste product (petroleum producers don’t want it and the gas frackers really prize the more valuable ethane and propane).

      So when he says “use wind for electricity” cynics say that’s just because he knows that variable sources need back-up, and although it lowers demand in the short-term, in the long term it helps raise renewable mandates and pushes the grid away from nuclear and coal towards more natural gas.

  7. drpawansharma says:

    Actually locomotives can run on electricity, here in india we have been electrifying our rail networks and it works great.

    1. io says:

      I was about to say… I never saw a locomotive other than electric in Europe either, all are powered from overhead lines. The same concept is even used in many cities for buses. Quiet, clean, and probably cheaper to run too…

      Is it funny or sad that 3rd-world America still wonders which fossil fuel needs to be used to move its trains and freight?

      1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

        By trains, he’s really thinking freight.

        1. Tom A. says:

          It is a good idea for the large, human-free expanses of the plains and mountains, where electrification wouldn’t be as easy to implement.

          However, electric engines (the General Electric GG-1 and E44, for example) have been used for freight trains along the Northeast Corridor (the only fully-electrified rail lines in the US).

          The last GG-1 was retired in the 1980s (began production around 1932). I do not know if there are any E44s still in use.

          Right now, pretty much only passenger trains in the NEC run on electricity, but the freight could, as well.

      2. Tom A. says:

        @io: definitely sad.

  8. scott moore says:

    pickens is a natural gas pusher, and its not a bad idea. America is awash in natural gas, and most of the improvement in carbon emissions in the USA (and there have been), came from conversion to natural gas from coal (as pickens states in the video). NG is the ideal feeder right now. It can be stored, converted to electricity on demand, and fits perfectly into increasing use of solar power, because it can take up the slack when solar power waxes and wanes.

    Although NG can be directly used in cars and trucks, both electric vehicles and NG vehicles both have the same problems with availability of refueling stations (most of the NG stations here are locked up and single company use). NG can be used at home, but it takes a fairly expensive compression system that also uses electricity. Thus I think electric cars make more sense in the long run, even if fed by a NG powered grid. As good as our NG distribution system is, the electric grid is better, with the ability to make and ship power interstate in microseconds.

    I hope to convert my remaining gas vehicle to NG. Its a pickup, so it has the space for the bottles, and it can flip from one fuel type to the other. The conversion and home compressor is pricey, but it will pay for itself with reduced fuel costs.

  9. Dave K. says:

    NG is defintitely better than coal, and currently it’s the premium fuel for electricity generation, allowing for intermittency caused by renewables, but it’s still a fossil fuel, still has a carbon footprint, and is far less efficient as a motor fuel than an electric motor. The future is gradual electrification of transport (perhaps using NG as a “bridge fuel”) and some nuclear/renewable mix for electricity generation, again using NG as a “filler” until better energy storage or more throttleable nuclear (such as molten salt thorium reactors) or some mix of both make NG unnecessary. Also there are some applications where it’s hard to see how liquid fuel can be reasonably replaced, for example an airliner. so I do think biofuels and NG will play a role for some time.
    Just my opinion.

    1. scott moore says:

      Didn’t Elon musk just outline how you replace airliners? Transport along the ground using evacuated tubes. Its an old idea in Sci Fi, and Elon didn’t do it justice. 700mph is probably the low side of what you can do. And since it is maglev, it is all electric.

      You could have also picked space travel as an “impossible example”. However, that also would not be correct, since they are talking about space elevators being possible using carbon nanotube fibres. It also ends up being an all electric system, fed by the ground. Since about 100 miles gets you to real space straight up, it does not even strain transmission technology.

      Going further out, how about interspace/intersellar rockets? Yep, even that can go electric, with ion drive engines, which turn out to have much better efficiency than simple reaction engines.

      1. qwerty says:

        First off, it’s not maglev. Secondly, the infrastructure cost to build all these tubes would be tremendously expensive. Instead of two airports in two cities, you would need hundreds if not thousands of miles of tubes between the two cities. Now multiply that by all the cities that have airports and you’ll need to build an exponential number of tubes to connect them all. And what about transatlantic or transpacific flights? It’s impossible to build these tubes miles below the ocean surface on the ocean floor. The extreme pressure at those depths would crush the tubes in a microsecond, long before they are evacuated for travel.

      2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

        Read the Hyperloop spec.

        The Hyperloop only targets high-traffic city pairs that are at significant distances apart but not too far apart. Flying is better (and note that his comparison is specifically made in reference to electric supersonic planes which he believes can now be built and run economically) for longer distances. By keeping the distance down, you keep the trip time down.

        The speed of the Hyperloop is limited for two reasons:
        – You want to limited the g forces experienced by the passenger.
        – You want to be able to go around corners in order to limit build costs.

        The Hyperloop isn’t maglev. It uses air bearings. It specifically avoids maglev because maglev is extremely expensive. Elon Musk is a visionary, not a dreamer.

    2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      There is biogas. Biogas isn’t cheap but it can be produced in large amounts. Several years ago it was estimated that just by producing biogas economically in farms, sewerage and landfill you could meet 8% of the USA’s needs (demand has risen so the percentage would have dropped). Using electrolysis and methanization (a process potentially near 80% efficient with effective use of waste heat) to store renewable electricity as natural gas (with some hydrogen) could potentially add to that significantly with syngas.

      Given that a high-renewable grid with improved connectivity would allow for smoothing of production and given the significant sources (currently including a large amount of wastage) I definitely don’t see NG as a stop-gap, I see it a part of the solution.

  10. Reno says:

    Evidently he has never seen electric trains which are widely used in Europe.

  11. GSP says:

    One of the most cost effective ways to fuel your EV is with a combined cycle natural gas generator. Less expensive than coal, and not as hard on the environment.

    Utilities are switching from coal to nat gas big time, so T.Boone will benifit from EVs. Good for him, and us as well.


  12. Rick says:

    Of course he supports EVs. They are powered by natural gas (burned in a power plant).