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Electric sheep and the secret nightmare of clean pollution

Good news, F-150 owners: you already own the last gasoline-powered truck you’ll ever buy. Tesla’s vaporware pickup will outperform the F-150 while costing less than most of the big Ford’s upscale variants. Tesla’s outspoken founder, Elon Musk, made the usual horse-and-buggy comparisons when discussing how the Tesla truck would make existing pickups obsolete.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/06/04/secret-nightmare-of-clean-pollution
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Excellent points raised here. I believe it’s the responsibility of every gearhead to constantly question the EV drum beats. The people that extol the virtues of EVs never seem to have an answer for the tough questions that have been raised in this article. They act as if, these problems will just work themselves out. I suppose they are correct in that opinion. The problems will be worked out in much the same ways the problems with diesel powered automobiles were worked out. By ignoring the facts, until the death tolls get too high to be ignored.

Great article and ,I hope, lots of commentary. Electric cars will fundamentally change the auto industry from the factory to your local mechanic, and gear head culture. I love the heartbeat of every performance internal combustion big block, screaming race bred supercar and thumping Harley. The ugly though goes back well over a century of oil that helped create mid east turmoil, wars, terrorism and pollution. Battery efficiency has improved dramatically in all areas including range, charge time and overall efficiency, in a very short period of time. Yes there is an ugly reality with batteries, as cited in this article. Pointing it out will help encourage solutions. I trust we can have both electric and internal combustion options, that the mandate we should demand is that everything we produce be sustainable and harmless to life and the environment. Electric torque is amazing. I am imprinted with 60’s muscle however and my rides need at least one in the garage.

Incremental steps and sometimes strides are still being made with improving the efficiency and power of the internal combustion engine as seen in papers and journals, and reported at engine technology conferences.

Rare earth metals are controlled by an autocratic government with a 50-year plan of world economic dominance. What, my friends, do you think that means for the rest of the world? Our free-market system will be in thrall to them if we do not ramp up an alternative.

My money is still on the gas-electric hybrid.

One thing left out of this article is the source of all this “pollution free” electric power to charge the batteries. Here in the Mid-west, “environmentalists” and complicit legislators are attempting to shut down all coal and nuclear power plants to be replaced with their fantasy of solar and wind power. Unfortunately, climate change has made a cloudy climate even more cloudy, going as long as a month without a totally sunny day, Even if the weather supported it, estimates are it would take 20-30 years to develop the solar and wind generation capability, along with the infrastructure to replace all fossil fuel generation. In the meantime, utilities are replacing coal and nuclear with natural gas which generates less pollution than coal but much more than nuclear. Their argument against nuclear is always the monster under the bed issue of “what if there’s an accident?” and spent fuel storage but neither of these things are causing the climate change that they are so worried about. If it really is the crisis they say it is, why not take the risk on nuclear and eliminate all fossil fuel power generation while we develop the capability and infrastructure for solar and wind?

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Mr. Baruth’s hyperbole aside, there are points to consider on both sides. That is one reason politicians are slow to do anything. There really can be no doubt that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than any time in human history. There is no doubt that finding a way to reduce it is in the best interest of an over-crowded planet. It seems that hybrid vehicles make far better sense for fitting into our current infrastructure and still allowing untethered mobility.

The UN and World Health Organization say global population is increasing at a rate of 1 million people every 4-1/2 days. We’re approaching 7 Billion. How much carbon dioxide does the average human produce. Maybe we should look to reducing births so we can keep our V-8s.

If even 25% of the vehicles today were replaced by electrics, we would need to increase the capacity to generate more electricity to charge them. How to do that? Wind and solar? Cover every square acre of farm and desert land and it still wouldn’t meet the demand. There are a lot of problems yet to be solved and the politicians aren’t talking about it, because they don’t want to be scorned as climate change deniers.

I remember reading about a revolutionary new battery tech that would do a lot towards making the ev a better alternative… the key idea was to have a gaseous medium on the inside of the battery rather than a liquid or even what you might consider as a plasma. This would result in tremendous weight savings, yadda yadda yadda. The only thing is that they can’t seem to get the gas medium if I remember correctly either to maintain a charge, or to hold a significant amount of it… not sure which, but there you go.

Each alternative of energy whether green or non green, has it’s own demerits. Wind farms chop up a lot of birds, and some people don’t like the looks of them (I think they are kind of cool)

Solar would be better positioned in space with some sort of means of conveying the electrical power down to earth.

Hydro power often changes the local topography around in ways not easily imagined or prepared for.

Coal, we all know about that.

Natural gas, is a finite resource.

Nuclear is all well and good, but you get the not in my backyard scenario.

That all being said, there is nothing wrong with trying to pursue greener options as long as it is thought out well, and not implemented as a one and done, but more so like the internal combustion gasoline engine has evolved over time to become more efficient and powerful and dare I even say it more friendly to the environment…

Also, what about when the “electrics” enter the waste stream either due to an insurance total or end of use? They won’t last forever.
Ck

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I can certainly see the case for the gradual change from ICE to electrics in and around large cities but I think it will be far more gradual than most current pundits think. As some have already mentioned the elephant in the room or monster under the bed is where does this power come from. I recently read what appeared to be a very well researched article ( I think it was in the WSJ?) that made a very strong case that without a huge ramp up in Nuclear power production there is no way the nations on earth will ever reach even their most pessimistic goals for greenhouse gas emissions. It seems to me the same crowd hammering the fossil fuel industry are also the same folks pushing back on nukes.
A vexing problem without a currently viable solution.
Jay

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The sort of thing that JB describes here is a major reason why we need a carbon tax instead of having bureaucrats decide how we should reduce carbon emissions.

The car is a lot more conspicuous in our society than electric power plants, meat production, and buildings, and so draws the attention of all the knee-jerkers, who undoubtedly are ignorant of the fact that personal automobiles and “light trucks” produce less greenhouse emissions in the US than meat production, buildings, and electric power production.

On the subject of electric vehicles, you are preaching to the choir here, who you should be trying to get to read this is the powers to be not those of us who know the real facts. What is going to happen once the whole world is full of electrics, I tell you what will happen we will have brown outs and loss of power due to not enough powers stations. And this is exactly what those in power want this way they can force the public into cities and take their freedoms away! This is the worst of Socialism turning the world into a 1984 type of world. Until you can produce an electric vehicle that doesn’t depend on the power grids of the world it is a figment of imagination as to having a world of electrics and not fossil fuels.

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It amazes me how there are thousands of these conversations everyday, and no one brings up popuation reduction. The only answer is no demand–no consumption. Okay, start throwing those educated rocks. The Peanut Gallery need not apply!

You have an excellent point. Who will want a current EV 20, 30, 40, 50 years from now? I predict nobody. With the way technology changes, it would probably not even be possible to get/keep one in running condition. My '57 Pontiac may be old, but technology-wise it is still maintainable and able to be serviced and worked on to keep it running and looking like a new car. Even new regular fuel vehicles will probably not be around and not be wanted in 50 years simply because it will be too difficult, and probably impossible, to maintain and repair them to make them desirable to have due to the electronic in them that will be so outdated and likely no longer supported.

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The answer to the battery issue is Graphine. It is cheap and easy to produce, makes fantastic batteries that can out perform anything else. The problem is Tesla and the US patent office have taken this and buried it as it will completely change the way energy is produced and or stored. We have the tech yet again it does not meet the narrative of the corporate.

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In the limited scope of the article there was not room to fully delve into the depths of the issue.
I will attempt to introduce a couple quick thoughts to ponder.

  1. Wind generation is not now profitable nor will it be any decade in the near future. Possibly never. It’s major payback is currently only in the form of ‘political capital.’
  2. Solar energy is somewhere in the neighborhood of 400x more damaging to the environment than coal. As a former engineering tech at a major micro chip mfg I have witnessed the fact that there is not a room in the plant that does not contain nasty, environmentally damaging chemicals.
    Add to that the millions of gallons of clean water that is converted into industrial waist.
    Solar panels are silicon based micro chips. The manufacture of solar panels must be part of the “clean” energy equation.
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I’m tired of hearing that electric cars are “clean”, they are not. When you charge them where is the electricity coming from? If the power plant is burning coal or natural gas it is pollution pure and simple. Hydroelectric and nuclear are clean but they are a small percentage. As they say there is no such thing as a free lunch.

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Many good points of view here. Good that we’re aware and are putting forth some ideas. Valid points about wind and solar. They are simply not developed to the stage where they can replace the current system. We hear a lot about environmental impacts, but none about the impact of increasing wind and solar installations. Nuclear is the monster under the bed, but intensified research should be able to make nuclear power far safer by today’s standards. So much more is known now as compared to 30 years ago. Population control seems too difficult to manage and overlooks human nature. The Chinese tried it and now their demographics are imbalanced. I agree with those who say plug in hybrids are a better choice for the foreseeable future.

I see… So, plus or minus eight billion people in the world isn’t over population?

No, it isnt. Do you claim to know what the right number of people is?
I’m so eager to get to the part of the conversation where you tell me your great ideas of how to, you know, dispose of the excess…