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August 20, 2012


That's wonderful news about e-cars but people still won't buy them. E-cars come around every 20 years or so and they always fade away again. People seem to like them, but they refuse to buy them. Just look at the Volt and the Nissan Leaf, they have sold about 20k units combined. Most have been sold to corporations for prpmotional purposes, almost none to the general public. In comparison, the lowly Chevy Cruse has sold 250k units alone during the same timeframe. People like e-cars but they don't actually buy them.

Efficiency is measured by the amount of work that can be done with a given quantity of energy, roughly speaking. An incandescent light bulb produces far more heat than it does light, so it is designated as a fairly inefficient device. Let's call heat the "energy debt" that must always be paid. Fluorescent tubes are far more efficient than incandescent light bulbs, producing more light than heat for a given electrical current input. However, the cost of producing and powering a fluorescent tube is much higher, and the thermodynamic energy debt (so to speak) has already been accounted for in the differential between the manufacturing processes used to build incandescent light bulbs and fluorescent tubes.

The same analogy can be used with acceptable validity when you consider the manufacturing processes involved in building an electric vehicle and a purely ICE-powered vehicle. There is a reason why EV's are more expensive than ICE vehicles: it takes more energy to build them. And, it is chiefly due to the batteries, which come into existence following labor-intensive mining and refining of rare elements. The mining and refining processes require vast amounts of energy, all derived from the combustion of fossil fuels. And all this effort is purposed toward producing devices that have ever-increasing efficiency.

Solar panels and wind turbines need to be manufactured, and the energy to manufacture them will be derived from the combustion of fossil fuels. Same with water-impelled turbines used in hydroelectric power facilities.

EV's are a step forward in terms of efficiency, but progress in the way of mitigation of global warming effects will require the cessation of the burning of great amounts of fossil fuels. When we stop burning fossil fuels, nothing will get done. Get the picture?

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