Ranger Genius wrote:I think KIV was pointing out the irony which exists in the cases of MOST electric car users (which, as I said, doesn't apply to you) that the owner bought it to be environmentally conscientious, but is actually causing more harm than good by effectively buying a coal-powered car. There are also extra steps involved in the process of harnessing the energy (chemical-heat-motion-electricity-motion, as opposed to chemical-motion), and every step reduces efficiency. (Of course, for you, it looks more like motion-electricity-motion).
Well, it's actually not all that simple.
If it was far more inefficient to convert gasoline to electricity and use it for motive power, hybrids could not use less gasoline than regular cars. They would use more.
Electric motors work best from standstill, and gasoline motors are better at higher speeds. That has to be worked into the equation. Hybrids use electric for around town, and switch to gas for sustained distances (generalization, but fairly accurate). The most efficient modifications for hybrids generally involve a gas motor powering a generator, which in turn powers an electric motor, which moves the car. Here
is an example. And even then we haven't gotten into the role of fuel cells for powering the electric motor.
Pure electric off of a coal plant is evil, agreed. But the electric motor itself is more efficient than a gasoline powered engine. Also, whatever choice you have for non-electric motors- you are pretty much stuck with. Not so if you hook up work producing method x
onto a generator. So saying that electric cars are evil due to them being powered by a coal plant is similiar to shooting the messanger of bad news. It's the electricity production method that is a bad thing, not the electric car itself.
Edited to add:
I think one of the reasons I am somewhat defensive about electric cars is the perceived notion that they can't solve any environmental issues. The company that made my electric car went out of business, as do most of them. If the idea of an electric car is shot down, then research into making them more feasible for standard usage does also. The concept of an electric car is very environemtally sound, as well as very efficient. The problem lies in the source of electricity. The good thing is that once you have the electric car- you can freely change the source of electricity and the car never needs to be modified.