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Wed Nov 14, 2012, 10:38 AM

DOE: Range-anxiety-plagued EV drivers somehow log more miles than gas drivers



"On Friday, I spoke with Colin Read, vice-president for corporate development at Ecotality, the company managing The EV Project. Read was just checking out the latest stats on the 6,300 EV drivers participating in the DOE-sponsored project to understand electric car driving and charging patterns. Among the latest trends that were emerging, Read noticed that EV drivers are traveling more miles as time passes. And they are charging slightly more in public in Q3 2012, than they did just one quarter earlier.

“Either charging is becoming more ubiquitous, or EV drivers are becoming more familiar with where the chargers are located,” said Read. “There’s certainly clear movement, indicated from the EV charger data, for EV drivers to charge less from home, drive further every day, and utilize more commercial away-from-home infrastructure.”

According to preliminary data, a Nissan LEAF owner drives, on average, 30 miles per day. Read said that federal government data indicates that an average driver of an internal combustion gas-powered car drives 28.9 miles per day. So EV drivers are traveling further, on average, than ICE drivers. This casts doubt on the common complaint that electric cars don’t have enough range for everyday needs."

http://www.plugincars.com/over-time-ev-owners-drive-more-miles-125311.html

Great news for EVs is not necessarily great news for the environment - in this case, it means extra carbon generated from utilities. Underscoring why finding clean, practical sources of energy should be the #1 priority.

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Reply DOE: Range-anxiety-plagued EV drivers somehow log more miles than gas drivers (Original post)
wtmusic Nov 2012 OP
Schema Thing Nov 2012 #1
Finishline42 Nov 2012 #2
wtmusic Nov 2012 #3
AtheistCrusader Nov 2012 #4
AverageJoe90 Nov 2012 #7
Finishline42 Nov 2012 #5
wtmusic Nov 2012 #6
obxhead Nov 2012 #8
Rain Mcloud Nov 2012 #9
wtmusic Nov 2012 #10
JDPriestly Nov 2012 #11

Response to wtmusic (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 11:07 AM

1. I just passed on purchasing a used (only very slightly) Nissan Leaf because



I drive at least 50 miles per day. But man, at $21K and only 5500 miles it was hard to pass up! And really, it would have worked for me most of the time.

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Response to wtmusic (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 11:48 AM

2. Thanks for posting but why the dig on EV's?

Great news for EVs is not necessarily great news for the environment - in this case, it means extra carbon generated from utilities. Underscoring why finding clean, practical sources of energy should be the #1 priority.

So it's better for the environment to use a fuel that probably traveled 100's of miles to the pump after going through an energy intensive process to refine it from crude which itself came from half way across the globe burning diesel the whole trip?

What if the electricity to charge the batteries comes from off peak usage when turbines are still spinning with excess capacity? What if the user has PV panels or a windmill and generates their own power during the day?

So much for the status quo...

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Response to Finishline42 (Reply #2)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 11:56 AM

3. Not a dig but a reality check.

If we find an energy source that's 30% cleaner but use twice as much of it, we're going backwards. Nobody believes in EVs more than I do, but in the big picture we need to keep the main focus on the weakest link in the chain. Right now that's either consumption or where our energy comes from.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #3)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 12:10 PM

4. Move to the PNW. 73% of our power is hydro, another good 10% or more wind, etc.

I LOVE LIVING HERE.

I'd love to get a leaf if I could afford one. Unfortunately too much sunk cost in my car, but it does get 38mpg, so not too bad.

When it comes due for replacement, the Leaf or something like it will be my choice.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #4)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 08:09 PM

7. Awesome.

I think the rest of the country could learn from you guys up there. Here in Texas, it's nothing but dirty fuel & nukes for the most part.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #3)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 12:42 PM

5. OK - I understand...

From the article - average went from 28.9 miles driven by gas cars to 30 miles driven with EV's - less than 4% more.

I've heard the rationale against efficiency because it encourages more use and in that way moving backward. I just think that attitude is unproductive. We should always move towards efficiency even if people use it more. What would you rather have - a handful of people changing their lifestyle (work closer to home, walk more, use public transit more, etc) or 100's or 1000's driving more efficient cars?

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Response to Finishline42 (Reply #5)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 01:00 PM

6. That's a good point

and mine is that it's important to always keep an eye on the end result.

It's very easy to slip backwards if you don't take a critical eye toward everything that's labeled "green". For example: companies that encourage consumption of products which are supposed to prevent it, like shopping bags made from recycled plastic, drinking bottles, etc. I know people who have closets full of both, don't use them, and occasionally buy more because of a vague feeling that just buying them helps. Or carbon offsets - paying some company to plant trees in the Amazon so you can take a long plane trip guilt-free. Almost always scams which lead to more consumption than ever.

In the US we have an extremely cavalier attitude toward consumption which most societies find abhorrent. As a nation our biggest percentage drop in carbon output happened in 2008, and it happened not because of some technology breakthrough but when the economy went south and people just stopped driving as much.

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Response to wtmusic (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 03:39 PM

8. It would make sense to me that EV's are driven farther.

The further you drive daily the more of an impact gas prices have on you. The greater that impact, the more a higher cost EV vehicle makes sense.

I'll use my own case as an example. I work 60 miles away and have been looking into getting a beater commuter car that would get better mileage. I currently get 23 mpg and even if I nearly doubled that to 40 mpg I wouldn't really save any money in the long run for my situation over a year.

In one year I hope to be working at a new company being built just 5 miles away. At that distance I wouldn't even be considering a more fuel efficient car. It would take a decade, likely more than the life of the car, to balance the cost.

So, there are many factors on why an EV car may travel further on average. Not all energy is equal as well, sources, time of day, and total use of energy to provide it should all be considered.

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Response to wtmusic (Original post)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 08:34 AM

9. The long tailpipe argument just does not hold up.

 

It is easy to be distracted by the mis-information put forth by people whose livelihood depends on the sale of a good or service.
Well intentioned people are often misled but only for so long as they do not have information.
Below are just a few of the reasons that i could think of off the top of my sleepy head of how it takes energy to make and store energy in the form of vehicle fuel.
First is we do not make energy we just move it around and in the process we do what? Use energy to transport and store it.

It takes electricity power the pumps to get the crude oil out of the ground and into holding tanks.
The oil is then pumped or transported to ships.
Then the ship carries the crude oil thousands of miles which uses diesel converted to electricity via turbines.
The crude oil is then pumped into holding tanks again inside the refinery.
The refining process again uses electricity to refine and to collect the various distillates.
The distillate is pumped into holding tanks where it is blended with carcinogenic chemicals to provide stability for storage.
The fuel is then sent by a truck which gets about 5 mpg and shipped all over the world or in the case of diesel is refined in the US and shipped to Europe.

Then there is national security to consider.
In 2007 the US spent over 400 billion dollars on foreign oil,money which left the US never to return.
Some of that money financed terrorist organizations.

Think of the damage to the environment directly as in the case of spills like in the Gulf.
Just for laughs,an EV uses any where between 5KW to 15KW to go one mile.
This depends on where you live but most EV people pay around 30 dollars a month to operate their vehicles.
Take that and times it by 200 million vehicles,that is a lot of money. Money saved compared to paying foreign entities for crude.
Maybe the EV is not the panacea that some make it out to be but when talking about the big picture where a fraction of a per cent
saved is multiplied millions of times,then the savings to the pocket book and the environment become real important.

Thanks for you concern but don't take my word for it look around,this information is easily found.
Just take it with a grain of salt is my advice.

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Response to Rain Mcloud (Reply #9)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 10:33 AM

10. It's complicated.

Argonne National Laboratories, through a grant from the DOE, has developed a macro-driven Excel spreadsheet called the GREET model (Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation). Anyone can download it here:

http://greet.es.anl.gov/

You can get into a silly level of detail, but just playing with it for awhile gives you a pretty good feel for comparing total energy ("well-to-wheels") required to get a hypothetical car to go one mile. That's whether that energy comes from gasoline, nuclear electricity, coal electricity, and pretty much any combination. Of course it can't incorporate intangibles like national security which you bring up, and those are entirely valid considerations.

There was an article a few weeks ago here that showed why driving an EV in West Virginia, in 2012, is worse for the environment than driving a gasoline car. It raised a lot of hackles, but it's true (electricity in WV is almost exclusively generated from coal). As you know, those studies need a big-ass asterisk next to them - because coal is on its way out, because the car will be around for a long time, because the car may end up in an area where hydro is the main source of energy, etc.

I've done calculations on my electric cars (I have two of them) and the cleaner one, the Nissan Leaf, contributes about half as much CO2 to the atmosphere as an equivalent gasoline-burning car. That's living in CA with an energy mix that still includes roughly half coal. Unlike their internal combustion equivalents, both will get "cleaner" as they age and the generation mix improves.

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Response to wtmusic (Original post)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 11:39 AM

11. Yes. practical sources of clean energy is the priority,

but weaning the public imagination from its obsession with the gas-fueled engine is a first step toward getting public support for really searching for good, reliable alternative energy sources.

No. Southern California and I still don't have a solar panel on my roof. Shame on me. Guilty as charged. Question of money.

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