Tesla Model S: made and powered by *coal*? - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community

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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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Tesla Model S: made and powered by *coal*?

Interesting article here!...

With The Tesla Model S, Elon Musk Has Created A Nice Fossil Fuel Car - Forbes
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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 09:55 PM
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Not all fossil fuels have the same carbon footprint. You can't dismiss it by hand-waving "most electricity is generated from fossil fuels". California is mostly natural gas and hydro. NG is much lower in carbon emissions than coal, and hydro has none. And almost no grid power anywhere in the world comes from oil, despite the author's claim. Conclusion: the writer doesn't know that details matter.

The $7500 to $10000 government incentive money is enough to go buy a solar panel system that will generate enough electricity to an electric the car for the lifetime of the system. In other words, the fuel is free for the indefinite future. I've done it, and the figures do work out (unlike the Forbes' author's generalizations). In fact, 30 minutes ago I sold some surplus solar electronics to another EV owner who will basically be driving for free as well.
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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 10:52 PM
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The main point of writing this "controversial" article is for the writer to get his name noticed.

Replace the Model S with Prius and he's got the same boring argument as before with the Prius' batteries. He's just using the hot Tesla Model S as leverage to gain attention.

Nothing to see here.
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-22-2013, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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Kermit, I think you're looking at the wrong details. The article discusses many important issues, such as the significant energy used to construct the Tesla materials and battery.

pray4mojo, the argument isn't that the Tesla is bad, it's that coal and fossil fuels are just as necessary to create the Tesla to as any other car, and the people who celebrate the Tesla and at the same time bash fossil fuels are wrong-headed. Both should be celebrated.

I was going to respond more, but I see that the Forbes article has now linked to a pretty thorough follow-up to the article and to the response on a Tesla forum: http://industrialprogress.com/2013/0...-tesla-debate/

Last edited by Saturnalia; 08-23-2013 at 12:52 PM.
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-22-2013, 01:46 PM
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The $7500 to $10000 government incentive money....
That should read "the $7500 to $10000 the government confiscated from my neighbors...

Steve
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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-22-2013, 03:05 PM
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That should read "the $7500 to $10000 the government confiscated from my neighbors...

Steve
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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-22-2013, 11:01 PM
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Kermit, I think you're looking at the wrong details. The article discusses many important issues, such as the significant energy used to construct the Tesla materials and battery.
California, where Tesla manufactures, does not have significant coal power. Or at least Teslas are stamped, formed, welded, coil wound, painted, and bolted together in California. I don't know where Tesla sources its aluminum, which is energy intensive to make, but a lot of aluminum is smelted by cheap hydroelectric power in the Pacific Northwest. That industry was developed to support a certain Seattle airplane manufacturer.
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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-22-2013, 11:35 PM
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Thank you Kermit, the Forbes article is ludicrous, it no way discusses the chief difference between the inefficiency of internal combustion engines vs electric engines. Yes the primary source for electricity is fossil bassed fuel however electric engines are more efficient, manly due the massive heat (energy loss) inherent in gasoline powered motors. In other words electric engines do far more work with about a third of CO2 omission. Even if the original electricity was generated by a coal powered plant your carbon foot print would still be 1/2 a regular car.
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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-22-2013, 11:56 PM
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I think when it comes down to it, no one really gives a rats ass about "Carbon footprint" but rather their wallets. Teslas does not make any sense right now as far as money savings go. When they can price the cars down to 30 to 40k with the current luxuries or 20 to 30k with the basics, then you are talking.
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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-23-2013, 02:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Kermit View Post
California, where Tesla manufactures, does not have significant coal power. Or at least Teslas are stamped, formed, welded, coil wound, painted, and bolted together in California. I don't know where Tesla sources its aluminum, which is energy intensive to make, but a lot of aluminum is smelted by cheap hydroelectric power in the Pacific Northwest. That industry was developed to support a certain Seattle airplane manufacturer.
Well... that's nice to say... but the fact is that ~70% of the electricity generated in the US is from fossil fuels with ~45% of the total being coal fired. Given that electricity generated is fed into the grid, and then drawn from the grid where demanded, the truth is that everyone's electricity use is 45% coal (if you say "I only use green energy" it just means someone else' use is greater than 45%).

Thus a Tesla is 45% coal powered.
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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-23-2013, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Kermit View Post
California, where Tesla manufactures, does not have significant coal power. Or at least Teslas are stamped, formed, welded, coil wound, painted, and bolted together in California. I don't know where Tesla sources its aluminum, which is energy intensive to make, but a lot of aluminum is smelted by cheap hydroelectric power in the Pacific Northwest. That industry was developed to support a certain Seattle airplane manufacturer.
Sorry, but air quality is fungible. Tesla does not only sell to California, but purports to aspire to global sales.

I was at Norwich, and the chassis, internals, and body panels were all formed and assembled there. Tesla simply assembles the electric portion (at least that was the case when I was there). The Aluminum comes from the EU, not California or the Northwest, for that matter.

As for the article and the question of pollution, the fact of the matter is that this country is powered by fossil fuels in very large part. Electric cars are touted as the green wave of the future, but they cannot exist without taxpayer subsidies, and they do burn hydrocarbons on the charge cycle, since the source of the power is fossil fuel, whether gas, coal, or some combination. To pretend otherwise, as many greenies do, is fatuous.

Moreover, I frankly resent the extortion. Although I like the torque of the Tesla, I deeply resent the theft of my money to subsidize some celebrities (and others, of course) to purchase these high-end cars, and then have to listen to them moralize to me about how much more intelligent, sensitive, green, ad nauseum they are compared to the rest of the population.

I don't mean to be petulant here, but if they want to support Tesla, then they should have to purchase it outright, without my help. I'll do my part by tuning out their superior attitudes. And then everyone "wins!"

Stephen.

PS: Anyone seen Tesla's PE ratio? Reminds me of the internet bubble.

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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-23-2013, 06:52 AM
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Tesla a coal fired car is a ridiculous statement, obviously it runs off of lithium batteries duh! Seriously the people who can afford the current models can afford solar panels, wind turbines. As far as where your energy comes from it is completely wrong to say that everyones energy is 40% coal... Again what if I have my own power generations from solar? As already stated the reason electric is efficient is mainly because the electric motor and the fact that if you do use your power from the grid those power plants are way more efficient then ICE cars. Also the independence from oil, how many quarts does a tesla take!? Id want to own an electric car just for the lack of maintenance...

The largest problem i see is harvesting the lithium, but isn't oil, coal, natty gas, uranium, platinum, nickel, so on so forth all horrible to obtain!? That guy is just seeking publicity.. His house and computers are most likely 40% coal fired, if he is such an ecomentalist he shoild unplug them!
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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-23-2013, 07:23 AM
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the technical question of interest is of course how does the overal thermal efficency of an electric car compair to a gasoline car. Miles driven / energy in is the only metric that matters.

Electric cars have efficeny advantages over gasoline cars because there are efficency economies of scale from generating electricity centrally. IE a pound of fossil fuel generates more kWh at the powerstation than it could in your car.....the difference is significant.

Seriously, my car is small
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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-23-2013, 07:35 AM
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I have to laugh whenI hear people complaining about how the government is ripping them off by subsidizing renewables but forget how much we subsidies fossil fuels.

16.3 billion in direct spending
50.3 billion in tax brakes

Source congresional joint committee on taxation, Offices of Management and budget, IRS

Then the national academies estimates 120 billion we pay in health care costs due to fossil fuels

Then there is the financial and moral cost for our involvement in the Middle East.
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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-23-2013, 07:37 AM
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Electric Car Myth

Myth about Electric cars:

1. Electricity is clean energy.
2. Electricity is more efficient.

If I can prove above that the obvious conclusion is that Electric cars are another liberal myth that hits our collective pocketbook and distracts us from real issues at hand.

1. Electricity is clean

a. It would be if it was produced from Hydro, solar, wind or nuclear (?)... and I am stretching the truth as much as I can here. Hydro dams damage the environment in uncountable ways. Large scale solar or wind is yet to be proven and its environmental impact is unceratain. Nuclear has well known problems and probably should not be on this list. (When I was a kid I thought few nations could have nuclear, since there are few geologically and environmentally stable places on this planet where mother nature would not be able to release the radiation. Little did I know that Japanese built a bunch of nukes right on the most active fault! Kids do not know anything anyway.)

b. As was pointed out here most of the energy is generated by fossil fuel. Gas is fossil fuel, too, in case you have nto checked. It produces a little more steram that COx, but that is all.

c. Li batteries are not an environmental disaster waiting to happen. Li is not all that safe for humans. The elecrelite and the substrate is a nasty fluoro-carbon.

d. Fossil fuel will run out. Not in our lifetime or our grand-kids lifetime. There is a difference in what is called proven reserves and actual reserves.

e. What about the other 95% of the world which continues to burn fossil fuel at ever increasing rates with no regulation....

2. The electric car seems to be a more efficient way to deliver motive power.

a. This appears to be true. Fossil plant efficiency is 55%, transmission is 95% and electric motor is 90% to 99%. Compared to 20% efficiency for gasoline this looks correct. Ooops! One step missing. What happens when you charge those batteries. Do they get hot? The charging process is veeeeery inefficient, it wastes 50% of the energy. It is better to run a Diesel car it si 45% efficient.

b. Electric car wastes less energy when idling. This is correct. Besides converting 20% of the fuel's energy to power, gasoline car wastes a lot of gas just sitting at trtaffic lights. This is why hybrids make sense, they solve this energy delivery problem. There is a simpler solution Diesel, again. Diesel motor consumes very little gas at idle, just enough to turn the accessories.

Therefore, a better answer is a Diesel car. 50% energy conversion efficeincy at all speeds (no throttle). Mr. Diesel was a genious. The technology exists. Thedistribution netwoirk is widely avaialble.

Electric cars just put a lot of our $$ into politician's cronies pockets. in other countries this would be called corruption or irresponsible management of public funds, at best. Here we think it is something we must do.

Anton
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post #16 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-23-2013, 07:38 AM
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Good counterpoint

Seriously, my car is small
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post #17 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-23-2013, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by ageshelin View Post
Myth about Electric cars:

1. Electricity is clean energy.
2. Electricity is more efficient.

If I can prove above that the obvious conclusion is that Electric cars are another liberal myth that hits our collective pocketbook and distracts us from real issues at hand.

1. Electricity is clean

a. It would be if it was produced from Hydro, solar, wind or nuclear (?)... and I am stretching the truth as much as I can here. Hydro dams damage the environment in uncountable ways. Large scale solar or wind is yet to be proven and its environmental impact is unceratain. Nuclear has well known problems and probably should not be on this list. (When I was a kid I thought few nations could have nuclear, since there are few geologically and environmentally stable places on this planet where mother nature would not be able to release the radiation. Little did I know that Japanese built a bunch of nukes right on the most active fault! Kids do not know anything anyway.)

b. As was pointed out here most of the energy is generated by fossil fuel. Gas is fossil fuel, too, in case you have nto checked. It produces a little more steram that COx, but that is all.

c. Li batteries are not an environmental disaster waiting to happen. Li is not all that safe for humans. The elecrelite and the substrate is a nasty fluoro-carbon.

d. Fossil fuel will run out. Not in our lifetime or our grand-kids lifetime. There is a difference in what is called proven reserves and actual reserves.

e. What about the other 95% of the world which continues to burn fossil fuel at ever increasing rates with no regulation....

2. The electric car seems to be a more efficient way to deliver motive power.

a. This appears to be true. Fossil plant efficiency is 55%, transmission is 95% and electric motor is 90% to 99%. Compared to 20% efficiency for gasoline this looks correct. Ooops! One step missing. What happens when you charge those batteries. Do they get hot? The charging process is veeeeery inefficient, it wastes 50% of the energy. It is better to run a Diesel car it si 45% efficient.

b. Electric car wastes less energy when idling. This is correct. Besides converting 20% of the fuel's energy to power, gasoline car wastes a lot of gas just sitting at trtaffic lights. This is why hybrids make sense, they solve this energy delivery problem. There is a simpler solution Diesel, again. Diesel motor consumes very little gas at idle, just enough to turn the accessories.

Therefore, a better answer is a Diesel car. 50% energy conversion efficeincy at all speeds (no throttle). Mr. Diesel was a genious. The technology exists. Thedistribution netwoirk is widely avaialble.

Electric cars just put a lot of our $$ into politician's cronies pockets. in other countries this would be called corruption or irresponsible management of public funds, at best. Here we think it is something we must do.

Anton
Most of this is just flat out wrong. I work in the oil industry and I am no proponent of electric cars really......but this is absurd

They just made up a number for the charging efficency of batteries....it is 80 to 95 % in practice.

Seriously, my car is small
07 Exige-S, "Landshark"
05 Saffron Yellow "bumbleBee", on to a new owner
Also:
84 930 turbo, 06 WRX Wagon
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post #18 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-23-2013, 07:46 AM
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I guess the first clues should have been "liberal Myth" and veeeery with extra e's that the points would be based on science not bias

Seriously, my car is small
07 Exige-S, "Landshark"
05 Saffron Yellow "bumbleBee", on to a new owner
Also:
84 930 turbo, 06 WRX Wagon
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post #19 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-23-2013, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by McMike View Post
I have to laugh whenI hear people complaining about how the government is ripping them off by subsidizing renewables but forget how much we subsidies fossil fuels.

16.3 billion in direct spending
50.3 billion in tax brakes

Source congresional joint committee on taxation, Offices of Management and budget, IRS

Then the national academies estimates 120 billion we pay in health care costs due to fossil fuels

Then there is the financial and moral cost for our involvement in the Middle East.
Fossil fuels pretty much run the whole of our economy. If we are going to subsidize, I can't think of a better thing to subsidize.
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post #20 of 36 (permalink) Old 08-23-2013, 08:04 AM
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re: Efficiency of the Electric car

Even then, which is open for discussion for lasrge multi-cell battery, my argument still holds. There is no real efficiency gain, in fact a greater loss of energy, unless it is non-fossil generated.

Anton

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Originally Posted by aschen View Post
Most of this is just flat out wrong. I work in the oil industry and I am no proponent of electric cars really......but this is absurd

They just made up a number for the charging efficency of batteries....it is 80 to 95 % in practice.
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