Hagerty.com

EVs aren’t the enemy of car culture

You know the type. The purist who screams at the top of his lungs that the death of internal combustion is the death of our love affair with the automobile? Who wails that the automotive’s soul will evanesce, that electric range and recharge capacity will never match the convenience of petroleum-based horsepower—oh, and did he mention the sound?


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/09/06/evs-arent-the-enemy-of-car-culture
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EVs aren’t the enemy of car culture … But fully autonomous cars are. They will eventually tax/insure any pilot driven car off the road. And with it, your freedom.

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You are exactly right. Self driving cars will be run on a virtual grid that will be under the control of traffic planners and energy ministers who will determine the best times to allow people on the road. It is conceivable that, in congested areas, you may have to justify “unnecessary” trips to ease congestion or energy usage (if everyone is driving at the same time they will eventually be charging at the same time).
I can see a time where you have to plug your trip into an app to see if you have permission to go where you want, in the name of saving the planet of course.

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The end of internal combustion engines will not happen during any of our lifetimes…Period.
I also find it very interesting, that so many are willing to accept EVs, as the latest evolution of automotive technology, but yet so many still argue about why a manual transmission is the better “Drivers” choice, versus todays modern automatics, and dual clutch automated manuals.

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Call me curmudgeon, a throw-back, or whatever you like. I prefer the internal combustion engine, especially mated to the manual gear box. I love the mechanical nature of the thing, the symphony of interconnected mechanical principles.
My sole passion for cars is not limited to getting down a drag strip as fast as possible. My latest acquisition, a classic SAAB 900, would take a seeming eternity to cover a quarter mile, but I love it.
I know electric cars are the future, they are inevitable, so I’m enjoying shifting gears and wrenching on gas cars while I still can.
When I have to go electric I may have to get some open three-wheeler and an electric-converted 1970’s float boat. The three wheeler to get some of the thrill back lost from shifting my own gears, and the land barge to silently cruise in something meant to silently cruise, separated from the mechanical experience.
It seems a real same to convert a classic 911, for example, and lose that glorious flat six.Where as a land barge was meant to have torque and isolated silence that electric motors provide.

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Geok86…I agree with you. What everyone forgets is that our cities electrical infrastructures are not capable of handling the future enormous electrical loads to charge electric vehicles. We have brown outs now when AC units overload the city systems on a hot day…and for what it’s worth…how is the electricity being produced? Hydro Electric generators powered by???..coal, natural gas, nuclear. How will that carbon footprint factor in…or have the granola crunchers not thought that far. Just my two bits.

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I have no problem with electrics,per se. Its the hysterics behind them,the supposed idea that man alone is capable of destroying the atmosphere. To recharge these electrics you’ll still have to employ the hated coal. If electrics were as practical as gasoline power,I think they would have flourished over the years instead of essentially vanishing after World War One. It always raises my suspicions when I’m told something is good for me by some government entity,and then they offer me tax breaks or rebates to buy it (or,more bluntly,bribing me). If a product is so practical,and popular,it’s not likely they’d need to subsidize it to help the manufacturers turn a profit. If anyone wants to buy a Prius or Tesla or Leaf,it’s none of my concern. It becomes my concern when it’s my tax dollars used to subsidize it.

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No fossil fuel needed. Then what will be used to put the power to these motors? Ah…yes. Windmills.

I don’t think it’s the idea that electric vehicles are the enemy of the car culture. The real problem is the idea that an all electric future is within our grasp sometime in the next half century.

I read some stats today from a blogger, Paul Dreissen, that were real eye openers:

"The wind and sun may be free, renewable, sustainable. and eco-friendly but the technologies and raw materials required to harness this widely dispersed, intermittent, weather dependent energy to benefit humanity absolutely are not. In fact, they are far more environmentally harmful than any of the fossil fuel energy sources they would supposedly replace.

Biofuels - US ethanol quotas currently gobble up over 40% of America’s corn, grown on cropland nearly the size of Iowa, to displace about 10% of America’s gasoline. They also require vast quantities of water, pesticides, fertilizers, natural gas, gasoline and diesel, to produce and transport a fuel that drives up food prices, adversely affects food aid and nutrition in poor nations, damages small engines, and gets one-third fewer miles per gallon than gasoline.

Replacing 100% of US gasoline with ethanol would require some 360 million acres of corn. That’s 7 times the land mass of Utah. But eliminating fossil fuel production means we’d also have to replace the oil and natural gas feed stocks required for pharmaceuticals, wind turbine blades, solar panel films, paints, synthetic fibers, fertilizers, and plastics for cell phones, computers, eyeglasses, car bodies and countless other products. That would mean planting corn on almost 14 times the area of Utah.

Solar power - Solar panels on Nevada’s Nellis Air Force Base generate a minuscule 15 megawatts of electricity, about 40% of the year, from 72,000 panels on 140 acres. Arizona’s Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant generates 760 times more electricity, from less land, 90-95% of the time.

Generating Palo Verde’s electricity output using Nellis technology would require acreage ten times larger than Washington, DC. And the solar panels would still provide electricity only 40% of the year.

Generating the 3.9 billion megawatt-hours that Americans consumed in 2018 would require blanketing over ten million acres with solar panels. That’s half of South Carolina – a lot of wildlife habitat and scenic land. And we’d still get that electricity only when sufficient sun is shining.

Wind power - Mandated, subsidized wind energy also requires millions of acres for turbines and new transmission lines, and billions of tons of concrete, steel, copper, rare earth metals and fiberglass.

Like solar panels, wind turbines produce intermittent, unreliable electricity that costs much more than coal, gas or nuclear electricity – once subsidies are removed – and must be backed up by fossil fuel generators that have to go from standby to full-power many times a day, very inefficiently, every time the wind stops blowing. Turbine blades kill numerous raptors, other birds and bats every year – a million or more every year in the USA alone. Their light flicker and infrasonic noise has health effects for many humans.

Modern coal and gas-fired power plants can generate 600 megawatts some 95% of the time from less than 300 acres. Indiana’s Fowler Ridge wind farm also generates 600 megawatts from 350 towering turbines, located on more than 50,000 acres, and less than 30% of the year.

Now let’s suppose we’re going to use wind power to replace those 3.9 billion megawatt-hours of US electricity consumption. Let’s also suppose we’re going to get rid of all those coal and gas-fired backup power plants – and use wind turbines to generate enough extra electricity every windy day to charge batteries for just seven straight windless days.

That would require a lot of extra wind turbines, as we are forced to go into lower and lower quality wind locations. Instead of generating full nameplate power maybe one-third of the year, on average, they will do so only around 16% of the year. Instead of the 58,000 turbines we have now, the United States would need 14 million turbines , each one 400 feet tall, each one capable of generating 1.8 megawatts at full capacity, when the wind is blowing at the proper speed.

Assuming a barely sufficient 15 acres apiece, those monster turbines would require some 225 million acres, Over twice the land area of California – without including transmission lines. Their bird-butchering blades would wipe out raptors, other birds and bats in vast regions of the USA.

But experts say every turbine needs at least 50 acres of open airspace, and Fowler Ridge uses 120 acres per turbine. That works out to 750 million acres (ten times Arizona) – to 1,800 million acres (ten times Texas or nearly the entire Lower 48 United States)!* Eagles, hawks, falcons, vultures, geese and other high-flying birds and bats would virtually disappear from our skies. Insects and vermin would proliferate.

Manufacturing those wind turbines would require something on the order of 4 billion tons of steel, copper and alloys for the towers and turbines; 8 billion tons of steel and concrete for the foundations; 4 million tons of rare earth metals for motors, magnets and other components; 1 billion tons of petroleum-based composites for the nacelle covers and turbine blades; and massive quantities of rock and gravel for millions of miles of access roads to the turbines. Connecting our wind farms and cities with high-voltage transmission lines would require still more raw materials – and more millions of acres.

All these materials must be mined, processed, smelted, manufactured into finished products, and shipped all over the world. They would require removing hundreds of billions of tons of earth and rock overburden – and crushing tens of billions of tons of ore – at hundreds of new mines and quarries.

Every step in this entire process would require massive amounts of fossil fuels, because wind turbines and solar panels cannot operate earth moving and mining equipment – or produce consistently high enough heat to melt silica, iron, copper, rare earth or other materials.

It is past time for citizens, newscasters, debate hosts and legislators who are grounded in reality to confront Green New Dealers with hard questions and icy cold facts, and keep repeating them until the candidates provide real answers. No more dissembling, obfuscation or incantations permitted.

They should no longer be allowed to dodge these issues, to go from assuming the climate is in crisis, to assuming reliable, affordable, renewable, sustainable, eco-friendly alternatives to fossil fuel (and nuclear) energy will just magically appear, or can just be willed or subsidized into existence."

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Elon and Ferdinand Piech will have to pry the Hurst shifter from my cold, dead fingers.

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It won’t be government and it won’t be taxes that will take the current group of human-controlled IC cars off the road.
It will be the insurance industry operating through consumers.
You won’t lose any freedom to official governmental action. At least for the foreseeable future – meaning the lifetime of anyone reading these missives – you’ll still be free to buy and drive what you prefer. Providing, of course, you are willing to pay the premium for doing it.
The insurance industry has already noted the potential of how AV’s will reduce the incidence of crashes. No – it won’t eliminate them entirely, but there is no question that the AV’s will be safer over the road than will human-driven cars. In fact, on a per-mile basis, they already are. Perfection is not possible, but Better certainly is.
That will reduce insurance payouts – the goal toward which the industry is incessantly working.
At some point, the insurance actuaries will make it clear that it’s not only cheaper to insure AV’s, but a Lot cheaper. That will be the deciding thing that will tip the balance.
There is no insidious government plot to take any freedom away. This is capitalism, straight up. The insurance industry is in the business of making money. So is the automobile industry.
If all-electric AV’s are the least costly way to do that, it’s what will happen.
The market is Not repeat Not for cars. It’s for mobility. The cars are just a means to that end.
Technology and times change.

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Or nukes. Or solar. Or waves. Or hydrogen. Or hydro. Or, eventually, fusion.
The mix will change.

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Nobody is eliminating their carbon footprint with an electric car. They are REDUCING IT! The energy required to move your electric car is about 30% of that of the average gas vehicle. A power plant of any type, can run about three electric cars on the same amount of energy needed to power a gas pickup truck. Again the cost of electricity to drive electric is about 25% to 30% the cost of the gasoline. You spend $40 on gas or $10 on electricity. Its a reduction of waste issue, and that’s all ! The capacity of power plants on the east and west coasts is the real problem here. That’s a fact.
I think electric vehicles will enhance the classic car movement, as my stroked out gas guzzling 1974 Dodge Charger will just keep looking cooler, the more electric vehicles take over the roads. I will love and own them both.

120 years ago, the horse industry, along with blacksmiths, farriers, tack makers, hay growers, manure collectors – an entire mobility economy – said the same thing in pretty much the exact words.
The technology blew right past them then, and it will again.
It always does.

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The internal combustion vehicles will become obsolete, there is no question. The dominoes have already begun to fall. The UK has adopted an air quality plan effectively ending the sale of new cars and vans that run by gasoline or diesel by 2040. Other countries are following suit. In the long run this is a good thing.
Advancements in new technologies are making EVs appealing, fun, and easy to live with. Tesla’s technologies are advanced and the torque experienced will invigorate any motoring enthusiast. If you’re curious, go drive a Tesla Model S P90 - QUICK.
If many of us have concerns over the quickly approaching world of EVs, just wait until we begin constructing introducing new modes of transportation such as the hyperloop.
Our world is changing.

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I would say that if the world goes all electric cars they will all look the same.
You won’;t be able to tell them apart just like the new cars are today.
So I’m keeping all my 60’s and 70’s beauties for the future.
Even if I can’t get gas to run them I can look at them and remember the good old days.
BTW, don’t these EV hotshots that want to change the world to their liking realize that the whole world runs on oil and just about every product we use is made from oil.
Take away the oil and its back to the dark ages.

Hurry up with the hydrogen combustion cars and save us from these electrical appliances.

Or I guess I should say: Hurry up with making hydrogen production economically viable.

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I see a lot of confirmation bias and cherry picked information going on here. Renewables are becoming a much larger proportion of the energy supply simply because of economics. Long term power purchase agreements are being signed for both solar and wind for under $.03/kWh. Existing coal plants can’t compete and are being decomissioned en masse. Solar panels have come down in price an order of magnitude from when I was taking classes on renewables. The pricing has followed an exponential curve down (Moore’s Law) and battery storage is following a similar curve. Renewable energy is the future, period.

ICEs aren’t going anywhere in the near future. There’s just too much investment in them to disappear, and there’s a lot of ICE cars being sold now with a service life of what - 20 years? But over the long run, EVs are going to take more market share, and the really cool stuff will be electric. You might have noticed that the flagship supercars have batteries. That is the future.

One more point: My daughter and her friends really don’t car about cars. They are a transportation appliance and they’re mostly not needed if you live someplace cool near the restaurants and bars. Uber and Lyft are easier in the city, cheaper and you don’t have to worry about parking. (The Leaf is the perfect car for them - an appliance.) I see the auto enthusiast market as an aging demographic that won’t let go of their Hurst shifters…

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Electric cars, wind turbines, solar panels, will work fine and seem beneficial as long as they stay on a small scale. The longstanding and well thought out supply and demand electric systems around the world need to stay in place, to insure dependable electric service and quality of life. Wind and solar can flutter around the edges of this system, but can never play a major role. Electric cars will be practical for a small percentage of the population, and help them feel like they are saving the planet.
If you want a real feeling for a world without fossil fuel, buy an all-electric car for your primary transport, and charge it only with the wind turbine in your back yard. Let me know how that works out for ya…

There are hydrogen generators and plans to build your own hydrogen generator to supplement your gasoline on the market today. Drop a 9v battery in a glass of water and light the bubbles with a match. You just built a hydrogen generator. I started getting interested 10 years ago but lost that interest for various reasons. The biggest problem with hydrogen power is the volatility, look what happened to the Hindenburg, and like natural gas, the storage is an issue since it’s always a gas unless supper cold. An onboard hydrogen generator is the answer but building one efficient enough to totally power the car without the need for gasoline is a problem. A solution to that is to power a smaller engine to power a generator to produce electricity for electric motors. I’m sure technology will solve the efficiency problems but, God, I miss the 50s and 60s.