Jun 22

What do total CO2 emissions resulting from electric vehicles really mean?

 

A known Chevrolet Volt critic was back at it again yesterday with a piece that filtered to the top of a Google News search after we typed in the keywords “Chevrolet Volt.”

We will preemptively discuss this blogger’s newest allegations as he has a knack for being quoted by others who do not dig beneath his assertions’ murky surfaces.

Citing “More bad news for the Chevy Volt,” the National Legal and Policy Center ramped off of an Australian story about a comprehensive look at CO2 emissions done in the UK regarding EV batteries’ life cycles. The story said, “emissions from manufacturing electric cars are at least 50 per cent higher because batteries are made from materials such as lithium, copper and refined silicon, which require much energy to be processed.”


An idea can happen in a moment, and a car accelerated to production in a few years, but the fight for sustainable transportation is ongoing.

Because of this, the NLPC said, “The study takes into consideration driving, manufacturing and disposal [of lithium-ion batteries], and undermines the case being made for a rapid introduction of electric vehicles as a means to address environmental concerns.”

Actually those who commissioned the report at the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership who are fully knowledgeable of its data, not just an interpretive news story grabbed by NLPC, did not indicate they felt the case for EVs was now undermined.

The study was jointly funded by the British government and car industry, and about it the pro-EV LowCVP Web site wrote, “Electric and hybrid cars create more carbon emissions during their production than standard vehicles – but are still greener overall.”

The problem according to the study was total CO2 produced in manufacturing battery-powered cars is not typically accounted for by EV proponents. “For a battery EV, 46 percent of its total carbon footprint is generated at the factory, before it has travelled a single mile,” the study summary said.

The study recommends EV manufacturers should estimate not just tailpipe emissions (or lack thereof), but total emissions involved in manufacturing and battery use.

Another statement in the Australian article that the NLPC cued off of was, “Many electric cars are expected to need a replacement battery after a few years. Once the emissions from producing the second battery are added in, the total CO2 from producing an electric car rises to 12.6 tonnes, compared with 5.6 tonnes for a petrol car. Disposal also produces double the emissions because of the energy consumed in recovering and recycling metals in the battery. The study also took into account carbon emitted to generate the grid electricity consumed.”

So based on the premise EVs may use two batteries in their lifetime, the Australian article said they may not just be 50-percent worse, EVs may be responsible for more than double the CO2 of internal combustion vehicles.


2011 Chevrolet Volt production show car.

Actually, the EV industry has not yet seen large scale battery replacements, and stating replacement in terms of “a few years” is misleading when 8-10 years or so is more likely.

And by that time frame, it is possible that new generation vehicles and batteries will be available so most of today’s buyers will opt for a new vehicle rather than replacing the battery.

But the NLPC presented what may be facts through its ideological slant. We know it has been biased because this organization was responsible for spreading rumors that the Volt was suspected of causing a garage fire, and car dealers were pervasively gaming the system, claiming federal tax credits for themselves – two stories we had to report were misrepresented.

In any event, after the NLPC quickly concluded “vehicles like the Chevy Volt are not as green as perceived to be,” and cited the questionable “gamble” by GM and others on a slim projected market, it led into this:

“The wisdom of producing money losing electric vehicles that seem to offer little benefits to the environment should be further questioned. Particularly when taxpayers are subsidizing cars like the Chevy Volt with a $7,500 tax credit. At a time when Democrats are calling for the wealthy to pay a higher share of taxes to address a growing budget deficit, why are buyers of cars that cost over $40,000 (seemingly with little or no benefit to the environment) receiving subsidies? The case is even worse for Tesla’s electric car, which costs over $100,000 and also qualifies for the $7,500 tax credit.”

Yes, this bit of quickie reasoning is fully supported by the First Amendment, but no, it does not adhere to an ethic of being fully accurate in representing the whole picture.


Increasing production, and getting the cost-effective, environmentally friendly Volt into more hands ought to help quiet the critics.

Our other purpose in writing this is to offer the informed readers of GM-Volt opportunity to rebut allegations, and to start the ball rolling with a more balanced view.

First, we note the piece is titled “More bad news for the Volt.”

Does the NLPC forget far more news about the Volt has been about numerous automotive journalistic and engineering awards, as well as recognition by the federal government and insurance industry for more-than-could-be-expected top safety ratings?

Or is the “bad news” the false portrayals the writer has himself propagated? Instead of retracting the fire and “gaming” stories, it looks like the same writer is unrepentantly throwing more “bad news” on the wall to see what sticks.

As for tax credits, one major premise behind the EV movement is that this society we have built on petroleum has to do something to find alternatives. Big Oil has had its day, and we need clean, sustainable energy.

Jump starting an industry in the face of an entrenched (petroleum-based) industry is quite involved. There are high regulatory hurdles and costs to doing business that Henry Ford never dreamed of when he introduced the Model T.

Subsidies and tax credits take the sting from early adopters, and are presented as an investment in the future and the rapidly growing field is seeing new advancements weekly.

After contacting the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), we were told it did not have evidence contradicting significant CO2 produced in battery manufacturing. On the other hand, no one knows whether we will even be using lithium-ion or related batteries in 10 years time.


Do EV opponents want to talk about CO2 or costs to taxpayers? We can keep going on petrochemicals, but what are the real costs with that plan?

The NLPC ends its piece with something that sounds intellectually honest, saying, “While debating the perceived benefits and value of the Chevy Volt may not be politically correct, it is nonetheless a debate worthy of having.”

In fact, whether a debate needs to happen, or not, it is clear that it has already happened, and is ongoing – in the court of public opinion and by decision makers responsible for large budgets.

Substantially increasing expenditures by worldwide military, corporate fleets, as well as government policymakers indicate belief in EVs is pragmatic and leading somewhere better.

Admittedly, there is ideology involved. In today’s political climate, when is there not? But without even getting into it, what is the alternative? Kill the technology baby in the cradle when the life blood for existing technology is waning? Keep sending money to lands where many want us dead, and to those who manipulate the markets to keep us on the string for their petroleum?

How does that help America or the rest of the western world and developing economies as well? It is not a question of if, only when we cannot support this society which is so profoundly based upon petroleum.

We would be interested in learning also whether total battery electric vehicle manufacturing-to use-to-recycling CO2 emissions are really as bad as the UK study says.

Feel free to let us know what facts you can dig up, or points you can add. We have linked the stories above for you to read in the light of day. Critics will have their say, but we want to know what is the whole truth? That is what will stand in the long run.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 57


  1. 1
    Dmitrii

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (6:44 am)

    In the city where I live we have a Chevrolet factory. Since our city is powered by nuclear power plant, factory power consumption do not produce any emissions at all.
    This study is misleading.

    PS. Isn’t it nice to live in a place, where 100% of electricity is coming from non-polluting source? :)


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    Gsned57

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (6:45 am)

    American Engineered, American Made, AMERICAN FUELED! Even without a single environmental benefit this car and other EV’s can solve a more immediate problem plaguing our country. We can stop sending cash to terrorists and dictators and fuel our vehicles on home made electrons. If this A$$clown is so bent on seeing us stay addicted to Saudi, Iranian, Iraqi, and Venezuelan oil then he’s a traitor in my book. We can’t decide how politicians spend our taxes but we can decide how we spend what’s left over. True patriots will realize that the Volt will help our trade deficit, budget deficit, and take a few dollars away from dictators and terrorists. I’ve never owned a GM product but am proud that our engineers came out with this car that to me seems 3-5 years ahead of the competition. Take away the $7500 credit but if you do also take away the oil industry subsidies and start billing the oil companies every dollar it costs our military to protect wells and pipelines overseas. Stop subsidizing it all and see what the true cost of everything is.


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    Raymondjram

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (6:55 am)

    This issue about CO2 emissions has been written before, with no final answer. All vehicles have a CO2 “footprint” during manufacturing for every component. But that pales in comparison with the emissions generated during its lifetime of usage on the roads, especially in city traffic, where more than 50% of every vehicle is stuck in a jam somewhere with CO2 generated for up to hours, with very slow traffic movement, and very little wind to move the CO2 out. I experienced this when I lived in New York City, and I live it daily in my present workplace. Why does the study not cover this?

    Every EV , hybrid, or EREV will reduce those emissions in slow traffic, because that is one of their purpose of design. If every city traveler and dweller had a low or zero emission vehicle, the CO2 problems will slowly go down. Only highway travelers need more HP to keep up the higher speeds, and that is where the gas engine can work most efficiently.

    I strongly believe that more EV, hybrids, and EREVs will solve the emissions problem better than any new regulations, because the transportation systems are still in the hands of the private driver. More cities are promoting public and mass transportation, but they are very costly solutions, and only produce results under long-term usage and mass acceptance. Unless we can transport ourselves and our daily needs by cleaner methods (the “Star Trek” transporter is still over a hundred years away), we need vehicles to live and survive, and we need to clean them first. The conversions to partial or full electric power is the closest and easiest solution.

    Raymond


  4. 4
    Marc

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (7:12 am)

    It might be interesting to find out if NLPC is funded by Big Oil or conservative car manufacturers to keep bashing GM and the EV programme. I do believe they are damaging a positive development.
    Do they have articles about oil spills and ethic behaviour of oil companies ? If not that would be strange considering all that has happened in the Gulf , Alaska but also countries like Nigeria.

    Furthermore apart from CO2 electric cars don’t emit NOx, SOx and sooth which all cause health problems. Perhaps a study about the benefits in reduced costs of medical care achieved by mass EV on the road would provide an additional argument to go ahead full force. That’s exactly what GM should do !


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    Dan Petit

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (7:28 am)

    The battery in the Volt can be reprocessed right in the vehicle with the LG Chem’s proprietary plate scrubbing process at the eight to ten year mark. This is like changing your vehicle’s coolant every 100,000 miles, so, what the folks down under are saying really is “Please let us debate so that our techno-fallacies can be undone for us”.

    Perhaps they forgot to read all about that here on this site. LG Chem has already handled their concerns about five years ago, so, that means that these insufficiently-studied individuals apparently have to have **something** to scream about. Only that they had lost their attempt at smear five years ago.

    It is all coming our way, whether or not people are ready.

    Out here in the independent servicing arena, the Volt is already very highly respected and clearly differentiated from non EREV vehicles by shop owners and techs who take their jobs very very seriously. So, yes, Jeff, these facts prove their motivations are merely a pretentious techno-smear which most people will easily dismiss.

    How convenient that they forgot to consider the entire annual tonnage of carbon dioxide per vehicle from gasoline, and, the trillions of dollars as also commensurately measured in carbon dioxide from the 2 wars that it has caused. What very very profoundly shallow and silly commentary on their parts.


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    Dave G

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (8:05 am)

    Gsned57: American Engineered, American Made, AMERICAN FUELED! Even without a single environmental benefit this car and other EV’s can solve a more immediate problem plaguing our country. We can stop sending cash to terrorists and dictators and fuel our vehicles on home made electrons.

    Exactly. It’s not about going green. It’s about Energy Independence.

    2/3 of our oil is imported. Electricity is 100% domestic.


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    joe

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (8:12 am)

    I not surprised at this report at all. There will be always be a group trying to derail something good with half truths and twisted facts no matter what. Those groups just love to hear about themselves and are not really looking to do good for the country.


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    pavers123

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (8:14 am)

    Thanks for the article. Emissions are an important consideration, so much so that 100% of my the demand that my home and Volt place on the grid for electricity is filled with Wind Energy.

    However, that said, the Volt is first and foremost about America. It’s an American made car (whose purchase employs American engineers, technicians, and assembly line workers in the auto industry) that runs on American made energy (employing American engineers, construction workers, miners, and technicians in the energy industry)

    If you don’t like American, you don’t like America.


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    nasaman

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (8:16 am)

    The NLPC condemns EVs for large carbon footprints from the manufacture of their batteries but singles out the Chevy Volt as its whipping boy. In so doing they’ve shot themselves in the foot.* Why? Because although the Volt is an EV, it is also an EREV, which allows it to use a much smaller battery. From yesterday’s excellent EcoCAR article, note that of the 16 vehicle drive trains designed by engineering teams from North American universities only ONE was a pure EV (from the Univ of Ontario). And that car’s battery is 80KWH, more than FOUR TIMES larger than the average of the other 15 vehicle’s batteries, as seen in the chart below:

    Screen-shot-2011-06-20-at-9.55.50-PM.png

    Thus the Volt’s battery is MUCH SMALLER than batteries needed in pure EVs. (The early Leaf, iMiev, etc designs aren’t truly representative of eventual practical EVs because of their severely-limited range, IMO.) So the Volt’s battery would produce only about 1/4TH the carbon footprint during its manufacture vs batteries used in pure EVs having practical ranges like the original Tesla and the forthcoming Tesla model S.

    /*NLPC, I hope that bullet hole in your foot doesn’t hurt too bad! Next time why not be safe and just keep your foot in your mouth? :)


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    Dionysus

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (8:52 am)

    NLPC has an obvious bias. Facts never seem to bother this type, they can be convienently ignored in favor of the fantasy world they live in. Luckily for them, they have canned talking heads to feed them pre-digested infotainment.


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    Nelson

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (8:55 am)

    I’m all for “leaving no stone unturned” in an analysis, but if you only pick the stones that bias your analysis, then it’s worthless. I hope no one paid good money for that study.

    “The study also took into account carbon emitted to generate the grid electricity consumed”
    Did the study take into account the EREV/EV buyers who have solar or wind powered homes?
    Did it take into account EREV/EV buyers that have chosen to get their electricity from renewable energy suppliers?
    Maybe those choices aren’t available in Australia and they can only buy electricity from coal or oil burning utilities.

    I won’t waste any more of my time with FUD spreaders.

    Volt#671
    NPNS!


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    Xiaowei1

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (9:22 am)

    I’m not surprised at the results of a bias study which looks at worst case scenario’s against best case scenarios. Of course they will not consider where energy is taken from to create a battery (i.e. renewable sources). last i saw there was a study saying a Prius was more pollutant than a GM hummer. the numbers only add up when they say a battery will only last 3 years and you would need 2 manufacturing cycles for the Prius as they only last 8 years as opposed to a Hummer lasting 16 years; whilst not actually consideing the CO2 of the driving… go figure. Some people will just keep on skewing until the numbers add up to prove their point.

    If a report is a good one, it will stand on its own merits releasing all the details and allowing the public to decide. It’s a debacle to think people are so bitter at electrics they need to make up facts to support a point. These same people miss the fact oil is getting harder to find, more expensive, an cost a lot in pollutants just to mine/ship.


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    gwmort

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (9:31 am)

    In the past 4500 miles I have used 36 gallons of gas, my understanding is that a barrel of oil yields about 19 gallons of gas, so I have used 2 barrels.

    Over that same distance, a conventional 30 mpg car would have consumed 150 gallons, or almost 8 barrels, and that is just 3 months. If I save 6 barrels a quarter, thats 24 barrels less per year.

    What is the CO2 footprint of drilling, pumping, shipping, refining, delivering, and then burning 24 barrels of oil? By the time the 200,000 volts are sold and the tax credit is used up, that benefit could be spread to 4.8 million barrels less per year. I know its a drop in the bucket compared to the total flow of oil into the country, but think about it millions of less barrels of oil refined and set on fire in our engines. How can that not be an improvement?

    I just looked it up, it looks like 24 barrels of oil yield 7.6 tonnes of CO2, assuming the study was correct and it takes about 7 more tonnes to make a Volt (12 compared to 5), then in the second year I will more than have made up the difference.


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    Bob

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (9:49 am)

    Okay, fine, include battery production emissions in the total for EVs. But to be fair then you have to go back to gas-powered cars and include emissions for producing the drilling rig, erecting it, operating it, transporting the crude oil to the refinery, refining it, transporting the gasoline to the gas station and running the pumps at the gas station.


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    Schmeltz

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (9:58 am)

    Bob: Okay, fine, include battery production emissions in the total for EVs. But to be fair then you have to go back to gas-powered cars and include emissions for producing the drilling rig, erecting it, operating it, transporting the crude oil to the refinery, refining it, transporting the gasoline to the gas station and running the pumps at the gas station.

    I was thinking the exact same thing Bob. People like this critic are always very vocal about things like suppossed manufacturing emissions, etc. but are very silent in mention of emissions
    from petroleum operations. If they carry such a chip on their shoulders about the alleged horrors of an EV society, why don’t they spend their time and energy coming up with something better? As for myself, I’m currently perfecting an engine that runs on people’s complaints, as we all know there is an infinite supply of that around! ;)


  16. 16
    Wes

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (10:00 am)

    How about posting a graph with a few lines that shows what the CO2 output is expected over the life of the car? Say 25 years to show a few battery replacements.


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    DonC

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (10:29 am)

    Note that this study only talks about emissions. It doesn’t talk about pollution, which is the more immediate problem of using ICE vehicles. A shorthand way of distinguishing between the two is that while emissions may lead to global warming pollution gives children asthma and you cancer. Which of the two do you think most people would worry about more?

    To follow up on Bob’s point about including all sources of pollution and emissions attributable to an EV but never including any similar pollution or emissions for ICE cars, two little known facts are that the refining process for gasoline is the largest single consumer of electricity in the US and that it takes roughly 7.5 kWh of electricity to produce a gallon of gasoline. Have you EVER seen these guys account for that? You won’t because an EV like the Volt can travel about 30 miles on the electricity needed just to refine a gallon of gasoline. Since the average ICE vehicle can’t go 30 miles on a gallon of gas, with the Volt you pay for the electricity but the gasoline can be dispensed with.

    I guess every entrenched empire goes down fighting. You just have to wonder what America every did to these guys that they hate our country so much.


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    volt11

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (11:08 am)

    Unfortunately, the audience for this type of study will believe anything, as long as there’s somebody to hate/blame targeted (“greenies”, “liberals”, etc.)


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    VoltSkeptic

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (11:11 am)

    This study does not take into account that when EV owners charge at off-peak, THERE ARE ZERO CO2 EMISSIONS because there is so much surplus energy in the grid overnight (45-60million cars worth depending on which study you cite). Since most owners (not all) will charge off peak, the active CO2 footprint of EVs is overstated by at 50%.

    One always needs to read the study instead of letting some bias (or stupid) reporter cherry pick the numbers…


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    muv66

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (11:28 am)

    I saw this article yesterday as I was searching about for Volt articles. I know I’m biased, but I rolled my eyes at the fact that this article was dripping with ulterior motive, whether it be from Big Oil or a competing car company looking at alternative fuels. The Volt may not ultimately be the end-all be-all of electric cars, but it is a huge step in the right direction and is absolutely the best option out there right now. Anyone who poo-poos it with questionable twisted research has a chip on their shoulder and should not be taken seriously.


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    Steverino

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (11:35 am)

    No different than the transition from horses to cars. People like this critic were yelling “Get a horse!” whenever they saw a car on the side of the road with a flat or some other issue. As we know by now, people may vote for change, but do not actually like change. The internet just gives this guy a bigger megaphone to yell through.

    I do notice a subtle shift in the Volt-bashing online along this “not green” line of argument. Nothing else seems to be sticking, so they are trying this new tack. Apparently they think that people are buying the Volt because it is a “green car”.


  22. 22
    Shawn Marshall

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (11:49 am)

    Carbon Dioxide is not a problem in the first place. You have to be an ecofreak with an agenda to believe this with such dogmatic certainty.
    Please see link http://www.middlebury.net/op-ed/global-warming-01.html among many many others. Now, water vapor is a different story. And nuke plants emit plenty of water vapor. But IF AGW is occurring, and IF it is significant, the question is still begged: Is it harmful or beneficial?

    EVs are clean, quiet and give an alternative to cut off the money supply to Muslims (who dislike the West entirely) and their extremist jihadist brothers who wish to exterminate us or make us “Submit” – which is the precise meaning of of Islam.

    So being a Voltiac is a religious experience after all.


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    tom w

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (11:51 am)

    The dirtiest emissions of all are from those tankers that move the oil (as well as other imports).

    However we are just preaching to ourselves here.

    Somehow the general public has to be educated about the importance of replacing imported oil with a new industry that will create new jobs, new technologies and free us from middle east wars. Likely the continued improvements in this technology will do that.


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    kdawg

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (11:53 am)

    Marc: It might be interesting to find out if NLPC is funded by Big Oil or conservative car manufacturers to keep bashing GM and the EV programme

    Based on the articles on their website they appear to be Anti-Obama, Anti-Democrat, Anti-green. I’ll let you figure out what group that would be.


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    kdawg

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (11:54 am)

    Ahhh.. the NLPC. It’s fun to throw stones yet offer no solutions of your own. In their world we would still be living in caves.


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    kdawg

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (12:06 pm)

    The guy that wrote this dribble is Marc Modica.
    Look at all the other crap he’s wrote.
    Gee.. tell us how you really feel Marc.

    http://nlpc.org/users/mark-modica/track

    More Bad News for the Chevy Volt
    Is GM Feeding Rumors About its Finances?
    Akerson Wants $5 Gas; CEO Unfit to Lead Bailed-Out GM
    GM Confirms Chevy Volt Tax Credit Abuse
    GM China Sales Fall as CEO Cites ‘Cultural Revolution’
    Obama Ballyhoos Auto Bailout as Economy Tanks
    Bailed-Out GM Relies on Incentives; Volt Sales Underwhelm
    GM Admits that Dealerships are Taking Chevy Volt Tax Credits
    Are GM Dealerships Gaming Chevy Volt Tax Credit?
    Taxpayers Get Scammed on Chevy Volt Tax Credit?
    GM’s Capital Outlays Dictated by Politics, Not Economics
    Bailed-Out GM is NOT Adding 4,200 Jobs
    Chevy Volt Suspected of Causing House Fire
    UAW and GM Get Covert Bailout Through ObamaCare
    UAW Threat Looms as GM Struggles
    Is Japan Crisis GM’s Latest Excuse?
    More Management Instability at GM as CFO Leaves
    GM Shares Hit All-Time Low
    Consumer Reports Puts GM, Chrysler at Bottom; Chevy Volt ‘Doesn’t Make Sense’
    GM Earnings Disappoint
    Bailed-Out GM Gives $10 Million for MLK Monument
    Why is Bailed-Out GM Paying Out Bonuses?
    Was GM/UAW Behind Toyota Bashing?
    GM’s Taxpayer-Funded Ad Spending Spree
    Chrysler Loses Money, Gives UAW Bonuses
    Is Ford’s Earnings Miss a Harbinger of a GM Disappointment?
    Will GM’s Politicized Bankruptcy Become a Model for States?
    Is Weak GM Model Lineup Behind Daewoo Name Change?
    GM Confirms UAW Benefits Payment Will Dilute Shareholders
    UAW Will Cash In on GM Stock Dilution
    UAW Makes Out (Again) on GM Bankruptcy
    What’s Behind GM Upgrades?
    Wall Street’s Non-Objective GM Coverage
    GM’s Accounting Issues Run Deep
    Don’t Pop the Corks for GM Just Yet
    Is GM Using Inventory to Fudge Earnings?
    Prove GM Success by Getting Taxpayers Out of Ally Financial
    GM’s Smoke and Mirrors Accounting
    GM IPO Land Mines
    GM IPO is Wealth Redistribution Scheme
    Election Day Prompts Rosy Projections for GM IPO
    GM IPO: Buyer Beware
    Government Motors’ Chevy Volt Sparks Criticism
    How Can Auto Bailout Succeed When Its Based on Fraud?


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    Noel Park

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (12:08 pm)

    joe: I not surprised at this report at all. There will be always be a group trying to derail something good with half truths and twisted facts no matter what. Those groups just love to hear about themselves and are not really looking to do good for the country.

    #7

    Yup. Spin makes the world go round. +1


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    Noel Park

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (12:16 pm)

    kdawg: Look at all the other crap he’s wrote.

    #26

    Japan, Inc. FUD? +1


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    panamamike

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (12:29 pm)

    Where does the CO2 go?

    Let’s say an EV does in fact produce 2x CO2 emissions. Question should be is that
    2x CO2 going into the atmosphere or do we have better pollution controls at a factory
    vs. individual cars giving off CO2 emissions on the road?

    In the long run, having the ability to focus on emissions control at a few factories vs. millions of cars should result in lower emissions.


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    kdawg

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (12:47 pm)

    Noel Park: #26
    Japan, Inc. FUD? +1

    What’s interesting is that the CEO of the NLPC is Ken Boehm (I won’t go into what a nut-job this guy is), but could he have a son, Ken Boehm Jr. who owns a car dealership?

    Look at this car dealership
    http://www.kbmcinc.com/

    “Eighteen years ago I founded Kenneth Boehm Motor Car Company. My business philosophy then was to sell affordable Honda and Toyota automobiles with a standard of quality that was believed to be impossible by others in the business.”

    “We specialize in two specific automobiles – Honda and Toyota. Why? These two manufacturers produce the highest quality mass produced automobile in the world today. In addition, the reliability over time and extended mileage is light years ahead of anything else available at a similar price.”


  31. 31
    Dmitrii

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (1:00 pm)

    //And nuke plants emit plenty of water vapor
    Not necesseraly, that depends on what type of cooling system you are using.


  32. 32
    George S. Bower

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (1:15 pm)

    Some numbers would be appropriate.
    How much CO2 does a Prius emit in 100,000 miles????

    @185g/mile =

    20.3 tons of CO2.

    The Volt emits approximately the same as a Prius if you take into account the emissions of the electric plant.

    So,,,,, everyone here that said that 7 tons of CO2 for the delta on battery production is INSIGNIFICANT with respect to the total CO2 emissions of a car in it’s lifetime appears to be incorrect.

    Having said that.
    I don’t give a sh#t about these studies. It’s all esoteric BS anyway.

    Everything will, and already has, started to gravitate to the EV direction anyway. It will happen by default as gas gets more and more expensive.

    There is only one clear path for our country.

    EV’s
    CCNG
    Nuclear
    renewables


  33. 33
    FrankD

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (1:48 pm)

    Unfortunately, as long as man continues to populate without regard to these realities, no matter what technology tries to do, we will always pollute in one way or another. As we go through this “disruptive” time, the effects will be heightened and put in the spotlight. Once we are on a track of a complete transfer to renewable and clean energy, then maybe we will start lessening man’s impact. I fear the lack of unity on this matter will be devastating for all.


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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (1:56 pm)

    Dave G: 2/3 of our oil is imported. Electricity is 100% domestic.

    Except for that pesky 1% still generated from petroleum. I’m not sure exactly where this happens though (except maybe people running personal generators).


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    Loboc

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (2:07 pm)

    George S. Bower: It’s all esoteric BS anyway.

    CO2 is a naturally-occurring gas. I have no idea why the EPA now classifies it as a pollutant. CO2 is the complete burning of carbon (unlike Carbon MONOxide) and indicates that the engine is running most efficiently. CO2 is the main by-product of breathing. Should we all exhale into paper bags to reduce this ‘pollutant’? Ridiculous.

    More important are all the other noxious emissions and particulates from burning gasoline and diesel (and coal). These (unlike CO2) actually cause health problems.

    My take is that CO2/climate-change/AGW is a bad umbrella to get under to reduce pollution. There is so much controversy and bad science that people will disregard other (more important) pollution-control efforts.


  36. 36
    Loboc

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (2:20 pm)

    kdawg:

    Dave G: 2/3 of our oil is imported. Electricity is 100% domestic.

    kdawg: Except for that pesky 1% still generated from petroleum. I’m not sure exactly where this happens though (except maybe people running personal generators).

    We have two 750KW generators that run on diesel at our facility. They run once a week for 15 minutes unless street power goes out. If the power is out they both crank full-throttle until the event is over. That happens several times a year. Even this winter, they did rolling blackouts during the ice storm (this is Texas) because people used way more electricity than normal.


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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (2:22 pm)

    FrankD: I fear the lack of unity on this matter will be devastating for all.

    15wgc1s.gif


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    NeutronFlux

     

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (2:33 pm)

    Nelson,

    You forgot a few comparisons:
    Did the Study equally measure the total carbon footprint of CE’s cradle to grave?
    Oil changes every 5K miles, cost of reprocessing / carbon emmissions, parts that are unique to CE’s that have to be periodically replaced and their emmission costs, costs to the environment when oil is dumped down the sewer or petroleum based cleaners contaminate ground water … What CE are they using to compare IE MPG as they will significantly impact carbon FP & not everyone drives a Prius. I woudl love to see what their total numbers are and what they are based on other than that, it might as well have been produced by East Anglica along with their falsified and manipulated global warming data.


  39. 39
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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (3:07 pm)

    kdawg: What’s interesting is that the CEO of the NLPC is Ken Boehm (I won’t go into what a nut-job this guy is), but could he have a son, Ken Boehm Jr. who owns a car dealership?

    #30

    Gee, you think, LOL? +1


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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (3:13 pm)

    MichaelH:

    #37

    LOL! +1 “It’s like deja vu all over again”

    I told somebody yesterday that someday God may decide that the Ark was a mistake and there won’t be one next time.

    In the words of the old spiritual:

    “God told Noah at the rainbow sign, ‘This time it’s the water, it’s the fire next time’”.


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    Darius

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (4:03 pm)

    I support Dmirii. That greenback madness really sucks.

    I remember big greenback fuse against hydro power plants and river bank damage. Then greenbacks turned against nuclear. Current victim – grain ethanol. What will be next: EV because of hypocritical CO2 footprint calculation or wind power because of noise or CO2 footprint during manufacturing and power regulation? Or may be solar panels? What would be best transportation power source and power source in general? May be best would be go back to the stone age and caves?


  42. 42
    TassieEV

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (4:21 pm)

    Nelson,

    You are correct other than Tasmania that has primarily Hydro Electric most of the rest of Australia generates electricity from Coal and there is one Nuclear Plant.

    Living here frustrates me sometimes and with no gov’t incentives, at least federally, for any type of EV or alternate fuel vehicle doesn’t help. Also the fact that imported vehicles are heavily taxed to protect the local Ford & Holden(GM) ICE vehicle production lines is lunacy IMHO. I doubt I’ll see a Volt sell for less than 60k AUD when they arrive next year sometime.

    The 2012 iMIEV or i from Mitsubishi is going to sell locally for $48800 as a reference, how to kill the EV adoption before it begins.


  43. 43
    DonC

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (5:04 pm)

    George S. Bower: The Volt emits approximately the same as a Prius if you take into account the emissions of the electric plant.

    Hey George, are you sure? The US average for electricity generation is 1293lbs/mWh or 1.293lb/kWh. A Volt will use 25 kWh going 100 miles and create 32 lbs of CO2. To go 100 miles a Prius will use 2 gallons and create 39 lbs of CO2. That’s 20% more CO2 from the Prius.

    Now some people will say that you have to use wall to wheels for the Volt. That’s great. As mentioned above, then you have to include the 7.5 kWh of electricity it takes to refine each gallon of gasoline. In this case the Prius is responsible for 48 lbs of CO2 (19.39 lbs from refining + 39 lbs from the tailpipe). The Volt would be responsible for 37 lbs of CO2 with an 87% charging efficiency. That means the Prius would emit almost 30% more CO2 than the Volt.

    Plus where I am the grid is cleaner and only produces .681 lbs of CO2 for every kWh. Now the Volt emits less than 50% of the CO2 as a Prius does.

    Plus the grid is getting cleaner by the day. The Prius will emit more CO2 per mile as it ages and gets less efficient.

    Plus this is only looking at CO2. For every other emission and every imaginable pollutant it’s not a contest. Burning gasoline creates lots of nasty particulates and all those tailpipes are non-point sources of pollution and emissions.

    I share your attitude about whether CO2 emissions from automobiles is a critical issue but the simple fact is that it’s superior on that measure as well.


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    jeffhre

     

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (5:37 pm)

    Dmitrii: //And nuke plants emit plenty of water vapor Not necesseraly, that depends on what type of cooling system you are using.

    It would be interesting to see a system in general use that does not. Please show us.


  45. 45
    Mark W

     

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (5:56 pm)

    First of all, please note that the article does not bring into question the fact that electric cars will help to reduce our foriegn oil dependence and that the Volt is made in the U.S. I actually think it is healthy that we are now debating how “green” the manufacture of electric cars really is (even though the batteries and materials are expected to be re-used and recycled and to have a life beyond the life of the car, and it should be reasonable to expect improvement and efficiency gains as the technology improves over time).

    However, in order to really make progress reducing global warming emissions I believe we must have a good energy policy in our country. Currently manufacturers may not have sufficient motivation to make minimizing emissions from battery manufacture a top priority. This is terrific evidence that the U.S. needs a cap and trade policy on carbon emissions. Environmental problems like this cannot be solved by subidizing chosen technologies (even if we chose the right technologies) and implementing CAFE standards to force manufacturer to build the chosen products. We need real energy policy and real environmental stewardship in this country to motivate industry and consumers to conserve energy and to minimize harmful pollutants.

    The problem is not with electric cars or batteries. (They will improve over time if manufacturers are motivated). The problem is with lack of energy policy that includes a cap on carbon emissions. The global warming emissions problem cannot be solved without good energy policy.


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    john1701a

     

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (6:53 pm)

    DonC:That means the Prius would emit almost 30% more CO2 than the Volt.

    Excluding the plug-in model from analysis like this says a lot, especially already knowing its expected to deliver over a 50% improvement in overall efficiency.
    .


  47. 47
    Truman

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (8:30 pm)

    The National Legal and Policy Center was founded in 1991 – the President is Peter Flaherty, past Chairman of the lobbying group Citizens for Reagan.
    http://nlpc.org/bios/peter-flaherty

    This “think tank” complains about a $7,500 tax credit for a car that will change the face of the American auto industry, and help the USA start to get off its oil addiction. But eight years ago, why didn’t they complain about the *** $75,000 *** Bush tax deduction that enabled doctors, lawyers and financial advisers to fully write off large SUV purchases ? No complaints THEN about the misdirection of taxpayer funds when the right people and products were benefiting.

    http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2003/Jan/22/bz/bz21a.html
    http://www.forbes.com/2003/01/21/cx_da_0121topnews.html

    Isn’t there a word for people like Peter Flaherty and his staff member Dr. Carl Horowitz, Director of the Organized Labor Accountability Project, editor of Union Corruption Update ?

    Oh yeah: hypocrites.


  48. 48
    Eco_Turbo

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (8:58 pm)

    From Post: It is not a question of if, only when we cannot support this society which is so profoundly based upon petroleum.

    Why not give the oil industry a chance to operate in a market free from speculators who affect the price but never use one drop, and regulations which hamper their ability to supply the World with something it needs and wants?

    Car makers already make cars so clean you would probably have trouble committing suicide in your garage unless you ran your lawn mower.


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    Steverino

     

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (9:28 pm)

    Loboc: CO2 is a naturally-occurring gas. I have no idea why the EPA now classifies it as a pollutant.

    Water is naturally occurring as well. You can still drown in it. :-)


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    WopOnTour

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    Jun 22nd, 2011 (10:59 pm)

    This was probably one of the better rebuttals to the misinformed blog posting by the NLPC.

    http://www.triplepundit.com/2011/06/full-life-cycle-assesment-electric-cars-compares-co2-impact-conventional-cars/comment-page-1/

    It appears Mr. Modica probably didn’t bother to completely read (or understand?) the research in which his misinformation is based. As within the report, Ricardo and the LVCP clearly state that the life-cycle assessment of EVs and battery based powertrains is still lower than petroleum fueled vehicles.

    Their own statement reads: “Electric and hybrid cars create more carbon emissions during their production than standard vehicles – but are still greener overall.” so Modica is twisting the data as usual.

    Just grasping at straws…

    WopOnTour


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    EricLG

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    Jun 23rd, 2011 (12:58 am)

    “Hey George, are you sure? ”

    Yeah, he is sure. Are you going to dismiss him as a troll now ?

    “For every other emission and every imaginable pollutant it’s not a contest.”
    Right you are here. Smokestack emissions from coal are 100s fold greater in Nox than the Prius or any other SULEV.


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    Mark Z

     

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    Jun 23rd, 2011 (2:02 am)

    This same nonsense occurred with the EV-1. The stories were funded by big oil back then.


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    EricLG

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    Jun 23rd, 2011 (2:40 am)

    Prius: 830 wh/mile refinery-wheels based on:
    18% refinery to car tank losses
    50 mpg, 34 kwh/gallon

    Volt: Plant to battery
    .31*.93*.85 = .245 based on:
    plant 31% burn efficiency, 7% transmission losses, 15% charging losses
    Battery to wheels: 300 wh/mile
    Plant to wheels: 300/.245 = 1225 wh/mile

    Coal and oil have very similar energy/carbon densities, while NG is considerably higher.


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    Eco_Turbo

     

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    Jun 23rd, 2011 (5:18 am)

    Anyone want to discuss the carbon footprint of a google search?


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    Dmitrii

     

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    Jun 23rd, 2011 (5:51 am)

    jeffhre
    //It would be interesting to see a system in general use that does not. Please show us.

    http://www.aep.ru/en/activity/projects/russia/balakovo
    Do you see the fountains on the foto – they are the heat exchanger. It looks much better not in the foto though.

    http://www.aep.ru/en/activity/projects/russia/bilibino
    Waste heat from power plant goes into central heating system, and finally heats houses.

    As far as I know there are plans for air heat exchanger for nuclear plant (it is possible), but I don’t know any plants where such type is used (water cooling is much more effective).


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    Mike-o-Matic

     

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    Jun 23rd, 2011 (10:06 am)

    Raymondjram: the “Star Trek” transporter is still over a hundred years away

    And thank God for that! I often wonder what the world would be like if you could jump even 100 miles in the blink of an eye. We humans would no doubt pave, build over, or otherwise despoil the entire surface of the world … in less than a decade.

    EDIT: Yours was a great post, by the way. +1!


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    Francois

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    Jun 27th, 2011 (12:49 am)

    Truman,

    It’s even better than that: according to Sourcewatch, NLPC is mostly funded by Richard Mellon Scaife, and the Scaife family owns Gulf Oil. As Deep Throat said: “follow the money”.