Join Date: May 2006
Location: Central Coast, CA
Remember, too, that the petrol side has more inefficiencies than merely the powerplant in the vehicle. Petrol has the energy cost of capturing the crude, transporting the crude, refining the crude into petrol, and transporting the petrol (basically)... and then you've got the 35% efficiency of the petrol engine.
Going in reverse, electric starts out at 90%+ efficient at the motor, goes back to transmission losses in the power lines, and then it's anyone's guess. It could be fairly green (solar, wind, water), or not so green (natural gas, coal, etc), or you be the judge (nuclear.) There are certainly a bunch of options.
Even then, neither technology is that cut and dried. In electric's case you've got the impact of the storage system... be that traditional chemical batteries, fuel cells, or what have you.
I do think electric is the future. Surely I will lament the day when the good old burble of a pushrod V8 disappears... As an enthusiast the visceral nature of IC engines is ingrained in me, but the majority of driver's could care less. If it works, is reliable, convenient, available, and affordable, it will happen.
Electric has the potential to be more superior in its efficiency (that IC engine is rarely at its max efficiency of 35%), in its compact packaging, in its fuel source, in its reliability, its longevity, and in its performance.
Frankly, I'm excited to see what new designs come of it. Today's car has really been developed around the people and engine. Throw engine out of the equation and lets see what happens.
Given the current efficiencies of electric systems, I'd be surprised if any electric vehicle was less green than IC. But that's a pure guess...
2005 Lotus Elise (Type 25 clone, LSS, Touring, BWR Supercharged w/ CharlieX tune)
1970 Austin Mini Cooper, 1971 Series IIA 88" Land Rover EV (http://www.adventure-ev.com), 2010 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged Autobiography