Wall Street Journal: “Electric Vehicles Will Rule The Road”


Someday, Electric Cars Will Rule The Offroad Too

Someday, Electric Cars Will Rule The Offroad Too

Score a win for electric vehicles.

Kate Gordon wrote this of electric vehicles over at The Wall Street Journal:

“I’m not generally a fan of picking winners and losers except when it comes to the future of cars. Here, electric vehicles are the clear long-term winners. They’re highly efficient, dirt cheap to power, and can run on infrastructure that already exists. And even though electricity isn’t yet “clean” in many places around the country, EVs still generate fewer emissions than your average gas-powered vehicle—regardless of whether you charge up on the coal-fired Kentucky grid or Washington’s much cleaner hydro- and wind- powered system.”

Gordon definitively states:

“I believe EVs are our future.”

We certainly agree.

The Wall Street Journal adds this footnote:

“Kate Gordon is vice president and the director of the energy and climate program at Next Generation. She previously served as vice president for energy and environment at the Center for American Progress.”

For the full Kate Gordon story, click the link below.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Categories: General


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49 Comments on "Wall Street Journal: “Electric Vehicles Will Rule The Road”"

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Every DOT take note. Get busy planning and building those highway charging networks. The electrics are coming! Some are here already.

Also, every DOT needs to figure out how they’re going to pay for all these roads when people aren’t using gas.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Keep the gas tax, stop raiding it for other purposes, then add a per-mile fee based on odometer readings.

I like Virginia’s gas tax fix better vs having Big Brother stick a GPS on my car. How Virginia’s system works is they cut down the gas tax. But shifted the revenue collection to the general sales tax. The nice thing about this is that Amtrak and Tranist projects got more funding and the drivers don’t complain that there gas taxes are being raided by transit projects to pay for subway and rail.

Virginia tax your car as “property Tax” with insane prices, that is why the oldest cars in US are in Virginia of course heavy polluters. I rather have big brother checking my GPS in VA than the local Government increasing tax property fees.

Maybe her WAG will work out eventually.
I think folk will be surprised at how effective the fightback is from alternatives.
For instance:

Now ~60% efficiency is of course not breaking the Carnot limit, but it sure is stretching it from the 38% the current leader in cars, Toyota, can get! 😉

For heavy trucks, this is untouchable on a power to weight ratio, which is what counts for long distance trucking, and batteries and not even fuel cells are remotely near being able to cover that market, and it is not even in prospect.

About the only way that might prove possible is through the road, on the move inductive charging to make heavy long distance possible
on electric.

On a cost/performance basis BEVs have an enormous way to go to beat petrol cars too, and battery assist and lightweighting will be able to provide phenomenal mpg.

So it ain’t over until it is over, and there is life in the old ICE yet.

What one hopes will be ain’t necessarily what will be.

Making EVs lighter helps, but don’t forget improving aerodynamics. Getting a car moving takes energy, and lighter EVs help that, but keeping it moving against wind resistance is where good aerodynamics come in.

Case in point: The Tesla Model S is a VERY heavy car. Its city MPGe and highway MPGe are almost the same because it has very good aerodynamics.

There is a heck of a lot of work going on in aerodynamics too.

Folk won’t buy silly shapes which sacrifice accomodation to maximise aerodynamic efficiency, but even so a lot can and is being done.

A case in point if the new Audi A3 PHEV, which Autocar found could sail on for ages without power if you choose that mode.

They did some serious work on aerodynamics to achieve that, and still have something which looks like a standard car.

Please. They did all the work they needed to do in aerodynamics back in the 1930s. And found that you could accomplish amazing feats of efficiency that way. They’ve been applying that research ever since.

They also found – then, and about 30 times over since then – that there’s no way you’re going to actually *sell* a car that has the right shape for that amazing efficiency, and for a variety of reasons.

Actually by my readings combustion engines can today be made to be very efficient provided they’re setup under lab conditions and run at a constant RPM. It’s when those same engines are put into working automobiles or trucks that the results change.

I would like to see the results of the test setup the group deployed into that 2009 Saturn. I’m not saying it’d be a poor solution but rather that the real world might show a significantly smaller benefit than the suggested 10-15%. Additionally I’d like to see what the premium on the fuel mixing and monitoring systems is – vendors are dearth to add more cost to a vehicle that’s already a big ask for most people in terms of price.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Actually by my readings combustion engines can today be made to be very efficient provided they’re setup under lab conditions and run at a constant RPM. It’s when those same engines are put into working automobiles or trucks that the results change.

This is why you disconnect the drivetrain from the combustion engine. If you have a combustion technology that is highly efficient under a constant RPM, size it for the median power demand (plus some margin for extended hill climbs), and couple it with an electric drivetrain that can handle a widely variable power requirements.

Methinks the Toyota design should be doubled, where the pistons face each other and can be controlled by the linear motors (and gas springs) such that they can handle HCCI or other lean-burn technologies. Something like a Junckers Jumo with linear motors and gas springs instead of crankshafts.

‘Toyota’s refreshed 2014 Yaris for Europe offers a choice of four powertrains, including a thoroughly reworked 3-cylinder 1.0 gasoline unit that is the first member of a new family of 14 highly efficient engines to be launched by 2015. With a thermal efficiency of 37%, the engine delivers a combined-cycle fuel consumption of 4.1 l/100 (57.4 mpg US), and CO2 emissions reduced to 95 g/km in conjunction with a stop/start system. (Mass-produced gasoline engines on average have a thermal efficiency of between 30 and 35%, Toyota said.)

The hybrid powertrain has also been revamped, with its CO2 emissions reduced still further to 75 g/km and corresponding combined-cycle consumption lowered to 3.3 l/100 (71.3 mpg US). A 4-cylinder, 1.33-liter gasoline engine and 1.4-liter diesel complete the range. ‘


Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

The first practical steamship, the Charlotte Dundas, started hauling cargo along the canal in 1803 according to Wiki.

Sail boats were still economic for cargo transport up until the 1920’s.

It is all very well adopting a steely and far-seeing pose, and prophesying, but in the long run we all become angels, and switch our preferred mode of transport to a wing and a prayer anyway! 😉

Don’t count out the impact electrification of Class 8 trucks will have. Eaton, Kenworth, Peterbilt are all ALREADY electrifying and hybridizing.




The problem with ‘highly efficient’ ICE is they’re just not efficient enough when you factor in the entire well to wheels. Only plug-in vehicles will be able to provide real lower net running costs.

The problem with ‘highly efficient’ ICE cars is that they’re still ICE cars. 😉

DaveMart says, “On a cost/performance basis BEVs have an enormous way to go to beat petrol cars… ”

The only way that’s true is if you assign zero cost to the pollution from the extraction, shipping, refining, distributing and burning of oil, the health problems associated with that pollution, and military expenditures for oil. Since these are real costs and measure in the hundreds of billions every year, I’d say your statement is false.

The comments to the WSJ article are depressingly reactionary, uninformed, and even malicious. Maybe that’s to be expected from the readership of a newspaper with such a conservative editorial board. Such attitudes don’t bode well for the future of the U.S.

The future is here for some of us. Others will have to be dragged into the future, kicking and screaming.

I think we can change their minds. The major reason people resist is that they are afraid it will affect their life style or force them to change their life style in a way they don’t want to change it.

Once they see that electric cars are cheaper AND more fun than gas cars it’s all over.

There won’t be a single two stroke hair dryer in anyones bathroom anymore. (takeoff on Leaf commercial)

Yes, the word “will” is a bit misplaced. For many of us our EVs already “rule” the road and have been doing it for a few years now. It’s just that all those ICE drivers out there don’t have a clue and need help.

Unlikely. The more likely scenario is that they just die.

I wouldn’t say we are kicking and screaming, it’s more like we’re waiting for the early adopters to finish paying the battery premium necessary to get the price down to a competitive level. When that happens, I’m in. No kicking and screaming, I promise. 🙂

Don’t ever read the comment section in the WSJ.

Sad but true. I stopped reading most commentary sections as many opinions are indeed reactionary, partisan and/or uninformed.

i suspect that the author of the op-ed does not distinguish between a BEV and a PHEV, so any vehicle that adopts EV technology would count as an electric vehicle. from a policy perspective that seems like a reasonable assumption because both achieve the objective of improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. some of the commentators appear to consider electric vehicles to include only BEVs. the other observation is that unfortunately electric vehicles have become a partisan issue (with an underlying racial subtext) within the context of “Obama derangement syndrome”: once the President came out in favor of EV technology, there are those who mindlessly oppose it. i do agree with you in your concern for the future of the U.S. with the crazy anti-science, anti-education mentality that gets promoted on the political right. at a time when we need to be investing in education and in infrastructures, outmoded legislative rules allow small numbers of opponents from blocking even consideration of actions that this country needs to undertake to protect this nation’s economic, and environmental, future. i mean, if we can’t even get republicans to vote to fix crumbling bridges, you really have to wonder how we are going to… Read more »

The republicans are against the democratic idea that socialization is the answer to everything.

Exactly what part of socialism is currently producing electric cars? Last time I checked, the car makers were awful, evil capitalists. Burrrrrrrr.

the complaint that you will get from some republicans, and the fox (non)news crowd, is that the federal government bailed out GM. of course, had the President let GM fail these same people would be complaining about how Obama allowed a cornerstone industrial corporation fail.

so you can’t win for losing with that crowd…

That was not the complaint, since the government did not really “bail out GM”. The “old-GM” company was killed off, then a “new-GM” was created to replace it. In that process, all stockholders and employees who invested in old-GM lost everything, while the unions made out like bandits. So Obama’s action was more of a union bailout than a GM bailout, and that was the general complaint from those on the right.

Yep, and most of the executives and politicians were replaced with alien androids to facilitate the transition of power to our new alien overlords.

the heritage foundation is a right-wing think tank that presents highly skewed interpretations of data. i believe the heritage foundation about as much as i believe the drudge report.

Quoting a propaganda machine. wow

I’m a libertarian and a Volt owner.

IMHO, the right’s war on electric propulsion is as foolish as the left’s war on gasoline propulsion.

Love my Volt, but I don’t love that it seems to attract narrow minded people who automatically assume I’m either their enemy or their ally.

The WSJ has come out firmly in the past against EVS. However, that does not make them close minded. Their article on “how EVs pollute before they even are driven” cherry picked the worst statistics, and I rebutted it. They not only printed that, but my talking points made the weekly TV show.

You don’t fight your enemies if you can convert them.

(disclosure: as a “conservative ecologist” I read the WSJ daily).

WSJ comments are the opposite of IEV comments, in that one both has to subscribe and use their real name in order to comment on articles appearing in the journal (not sure about blogs, or if there are recent changes to the policy). It breeds the kind of group think that goes off the rails, particularly by older, more crusty, types who have nothing better to do but count the their dividends, from anti-competitive enterprises.

One aspect of this situation that gets far too little attention is the interaction between how we generate electricity and EVs. Yes, we hear all the time from the usual suspects that driving an EV recharged with dirty electricity isn’t completely clean. Excuse me while I recover from that brilliant insight.

But what’s seldom mentioned is that if you look at our situation re: climate change it’s abundantly clear that we simply must dramatically clean up our electricity grid, whether we here in the US are plugging in zero cars or 100 million. And as we take that (huge) step, all those cars with plugs will automagically get cleaner without the drivers doing anything different or even knowing about it.

Replacing a gasoline car with an EV now is a very good thing, and it will only get much better in the coming years.

But by pointing out the obvious (that EVs will only get greener as the grid does so as well), you leave the misanthropes nothing to yell about.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

I’m not terribly concerned about AGW, and won’t be until the famous/rich folks who go on about it actually modify their behaviors in response to it. I’m far more concerned with Widows Per Gallon, Concubines Per Gallon, Bombings Per Gallon or Limbs Per Gallon than CO2 Pounds Per Gallon.

The fact that “famous/rich folks” are hypocritical about AGW seems like a pretty weak argument for your own lack of concern. Annoying, yes, but convincing?

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Whenever I hear someone tell me that I (or someone else) should do something to make the world a better place, the only 2 words I have for them are these:

“You first.”

That said, cleaner air and increased efficiency are valuable in and of themselves, so I don’t need some AGW bogeyman ramming its claws into my wallet and lecturing me (and giving small children panic attacks from fearmongering) especially if it can’t be bothered to live up to its own hypocritical demands.

What do you say to those who have gone first – who are living a much lower impact (ie, No Impact Man)? No, there aren’t many like him, so there’s always going to be a (rich) schmuck traipsing around saying we should bicycle more and stop eating meat while driving his/her SUV into a 3-car garaged McMansion. You can/should beat on this hypocrisy, but it’s not really a reason to dismiss a scientific consensus yourself.

attitudes such as yours are why you need *government* to set social policies and why it is such a failure to rely upon private action. when the government sets to rules for society, then we are all bound to play by the same rules and the “you first” dilemma becomes (at least in theory) less of a problem. it’s like when warren buffet says that taxes should be increased on the rich and then people say to him: “you first” (i.e. that buffet can always choose to pay more in taxes). the problem is that if he did offer to pay more taxes on his own, it would have no impact on the overall society. the “free enterprise” game is rigged so that the wealth is becoming increasingly concentrated as the rich get richer and the middle class shrinks. so the money that buffet would be voluntarily giving up would eventually end up getting transferred to other wealthy people. so in that instance, the *other* rich people continue to get rich while buffet gets less rich. so you would need the government to set a consistent set of tax rules so that the money that buffet forgoes can be put… Read more »

The author will be increasingly correct for cars/trucks until 2020-2025 or so, given the pace of improving batteries. It is hard to see that now as the electric car is still a boutique product [cost]. However, batteries may well match the ICE package for cost, range and life by 2025 and will become increasingly competitive until then. The efficiency of e-drive will improve even more with electronics improvements like silicon carbide and power switching technologies. Fuel cells are a possible future path for electric drive, though I doubt hydrogen will prove best. So far, I like the Phinergy solution best. The operational cost and efficiency of electric cars remains unmatched.
The energy density of gasoline/diesel is the strongest reason for continued use of gasoline/diesel. And, there are many potential improvements for combustion engines. Ex: Pinnacle, Achates, Liquid Piston, etc. Additionally, Thermo-electric conversion from ICE into a hybrid drive train may also boost the ICE efficiency. But given the lower efficiency of any ICE vs electric and the lack of regeneration portends that the combustion engine may well survive the longest as a range extender for plug-in hybrids.

Still with all that it is supporting a passe’ technology that does is not as efficient, and requires much more maintenance than ev’s.

Electrics have already surpassed ICE, and the gap will continue to widen over the years, as it becomes to population who can afford them that ev’s are the way to go. Though for specific applications, and due to the plethora of our infrastructure which is devoted to the gas and oil model, it will take decades for the changeover to electric mobility to complete the conquest of the gasoline engine. Any other view is clearly not based in this reality of time and space.

Here is a new story on how EV’s are driving up Lithium Demand. They have one of the top Tesla officials make a few comments about the lithium demand and the needs of Tesla. Apparently Tesla says a EV needs 50 pounds of lithium while a smart phone needs one 1/10th of a once.


“Half of the price you’re going to pay for a car are due to lithium”.
Don’t they even make basic research before making such claims?
Lithium costs about $6 per kg. There is about 5 kg in a Leaf and 20 kg in a Tesla (about 200g/kWh). That is a lithium raw material cost of $30 for the Leaf and $120 for the Tesla.

Some people talk about supply problems, even though Lithium is very common. The only problem is that lithium is so cheap and there is so little demand that there is no value in mining.

Right now the lithium business is like picking fallen down branches in your back yard for making a fire in the fire place once in a while while looking out at the forest.