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City Journal: Tapping the Brakes on Electric Vehicles

re: electric vehicles
re: WSJ: The Electric-Vehicle Cheating Scandal
re: ChatGPT: Calculating EV Charging Power Requirements
re: Electric Vehicles: a Multi-Pronged Menace with Few if any Benefits?

re: cognitive dissonance and rationalization
re: City Journal

ICE = Internal Combustion Engine, EV = electric vehicle

Real science is never settled, and anyone who has certainty on such things is not qualified to discuss it.

Anyone who actually cares about the environment and/or considers climate change a threat should ponder long and hard whether EVs are creating far more problems than they solve, and at a massive opportunity cost.

Reasonable people could debate these issues for societal benefit for generations, which is why there is near-nil debate. The current follow the money reality guarantees the worst possible outcomes and a price that several generations to come will pay dearly for.

See also, climate change portion of Woke Religion Taxonomy.

City Journal: Tapping the Brakes on Electric Vehicles

2024-01-29

Tesla will fix its cold-weather woes, but an all-EV future is still dead on arrival

...unprecedented magnitude of government intervention gives EV enthusiasts confidence that it will all “spur consumer demand.”

...No one really knows how much, or how little, EVs reduce global CO2 emissions... you can’t measure an EV’s CO2 emissions... everything about those numbers is highly variable, requiring estimates, guesses, and assumptions about when an EV is driven, when and where it’s recharged, and especially where the materials came from to build it in the first place.
[WIND: and how often the battery pack needs replacing, repair costs, how long they actually last particularly given the electronics, whether they are ever driven even to break-even point, etc. A farce in terms of ROI.]

...At the higher end of known ranges, upstream battery emissions can wipe out emissions avoided by not driving a gasoline car... all the variables relevant to mining and processing battery minerals point to upstream emissions rising.

...All the world’s mines, both currently operating and planned, can supply only a small fraction of the 700 percent to 4,000 percent increase in various minerals that will be needed to meet the wildly ambitious EV goals. The IEA estimates that we’ll need hundreds of new mega-mines to feed factories across the “transition” landscape, and that it takes 10 to 16 years to find, plan, and open a new mine.

... EVs use 300 percent to 400 percent more copper.... one major mining CEO observed that the coming chasm between demand and supply could trigger a ten-fold copper price hike... would add about $15,000 to the cost of building an EV.

...And we haven’t talked about the other engineering-economic problems with accelerating the EV revolution, such as building enough chargers, expanding the electric grid, and hoping consumers will tolerate radical increases in inconveniences.

...very long refueling times... only one-third of U.S. households have a garage... eye-wateringly expensive grid upgrades... typical EV fueling station will have the power demand of a stadium. Highways need tens of thousands of fuel stations.

WIND: often, it’s hard to tell good news from bad. This all look like good news from where I sit—an economic and utility reality check before too much damage is done. We are seeing this now and that’s a very good thing.

EVs are surely not a win for the environment. With all factors accounted for from mining to usage to recycling to multiple life-degrading costs to humans to charging by burning fossil fuels, EVs look far worse than the gas-sipping cars my daughters drive. My bullshit meter is pegged at redline as to the net benefit claims of EVs.

EVs on present course mean an opportunity cost in the tens of trillions of dollars... down the toilet. Vast damage to our ability to move forward with better solutions. Any time central planning forces the populace to gag-down a “solution”, everyone suffers, and for generations. This is what we now face. EVs make no sense in their present state.

As just one spitball idea: replacing half of big pickup trucks and similar with 40 mpg gasoline-sipping cars would mean huge reductions in fuel usage, eclipsing all the alleged benefits of EVs. And it could be done cheaply: a $10K tax credit on a $20K car getting ~40 mpg. Instead, we spend trillions on the EV chain, starting with $7500 tax credits along with all sorts of other subsidies. It is stupid beyond belief to discard a highly efficient technology honed to perfection over 100 years. The model of liquid fuel is the right one and there are many liquid fuels, some of which can be created by... electricity.

The EV mania has all the hallmarks of a mass psychosis.

Environmental

Environmental destruction is already huge, but exported to other countries. This is ethically dubious on top of being a national security threat. Then there is the resource problem:

All the world’s mines, both currently operating and planned, can supply only a small fraction of the 700 percent to 4,000 percent increase in various minerals that will be needed to meet the wildly ambitious EV goals. The IEA estimates that we’ll need hundreds of new mega-mines to feed factories across the “transition” landscape, and that it takes 10 to 16 years to find, plan, and open a new mine.

Power sourcing and charging

A paltry million trucks with GM batteries would charge at 350 gigawatts, consuming 29% of the entire generating capacity of the USA grid. Ten million such vehicles would be 3500 gigawatts — about 3X capacity of the entire US grid. That’s an extra 2300 gigawatts, or roughly 1100 full-scale 2 GW nuclear power plants. There are only 61 nuclear plants of that size in the country today (~98 reactors). Rationing comes to mind.

The basic physics means we need at least hundreds of new 3GW nuclear power stations across the country eg 100 'nukes' x 3 GW = 300 GW. The basic math is absurdly demanding.

Along with a near complete grid overhaul, along with trillion of dollars in charging stations. Maybe $30 trillon? Probably $100T, given corruption and grifting and incompetence—witness what’s happened so far.

BTW, drive by any conventional apartment complex, with hundreds of cars parked outside. How exactly are those folks going to charge their cars? And how would the tens of megawatts of power be delivered there and to hundreds of other such places. Prepare for charging rationing and the ultimate control over travel.

And it’s high school math to see that the current power grid is pathetically inadequate for supporting widespread EV adoption.

...typical EV fueling station will have the power demand of a stadium. Highways need tens of thousands of fuel stations.

Did anyone make note of the land area requirements to charge? It’s a simple calculation of vehicles per hour for refueling with liquid vs electricity. Probably on the order of 10-20 acres vs a 1-acre conventional station. Maybe much more given charging station breakdowns (very common). How does the land cost alone figure in, even if land can be found?

Refueling nightmare

I could grudgingly tolerate at the very maximum half an hour to recharge to 100% battery capacity. That kind of wrecks many days there, but OK, let’s say I accept it. Oh, how long do I have to wait just to plug-in... an hour?

As for my needs, an eSprinter that would provide adequate range and heating for my outdoors usage would need to be 3 megawatts, or 26X what the eSprinter offers... and that would weigh15000 pounds and have a huge upstream environmental cost. Seriously? With a 115 kW charger, that would take 26 hours. Even the pathetic 115 kW battery pack would take an hour—unacceptable. Diesel rocks—fill up a 48 gallon tank in 10 minutes, be on my way and with ample waste heat for cold weather.

Security

The harsh reality today is that EVs endangers local, state, and national security and safety. We as a country cannot be dependent on communist China any more than we are already, or any other country. What if they pull the plug on sourcing? Already China has done that more than once with rare earth metals, threatening even our military capability. But with EVs, we’re talking vastly more.

Science fair project?

Electric vehicles surely have some place place in our future. But not in their present state. Their alleged benefits are dubious, coming with huge generation-spanning costs and liabilities.

Were battery technology to show a 10X reduction in environmental damage and resource requirements and could also deliver 10X the power at the same weight and we can source locally, then we’re on to something. But as it stands, it’s an environmental and security disaster.

Barring that, what I see is a science fair project that exists because of massive distortions of the market via corrupting government subsidies at every step of the chain from mine to final disposal.


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