Are electric cars worth it

Jonathan

Well-Known Member
And do they help the environment?
I'll take your second question first.

"Do they help the environment."

I am not assuming you don't already know this, but there are a lot of people who don't realize that that electrical power has to come from SOMEWHERE. The battery in an electric car does not create it's own energy. It has to be charged via an electrical outlet, and that is where the rub is. If you local power grid is powered by oil/coal/fossil fuels, you are just basically burning fossil fuels off-site and away from your car but that is still where it gets it's energy from, CO2 emissions and all.

If your local power grid is powered primarily by Nuclear, than, technically, it is probably better for the environment, assuming that

A) You accept the idea that excess CO2 hurts the enviroment
and
B) You are OK with Nuclear Power Plants in your area.

Now the first question:

Are they worth it?

If you mean economically, only you can decide that. Electric vehicles cost a premium (even offset by government subsidies), but if you can get more bang for your buck in terms of amount of money spent for mile traveled (taking into account maintenance), seems like a good buy.

I know this is a lousy answer because I didn't really answer your question. I hope someone else here can.

My main point is that electric vehicles have to be charged somehow, and usually that involves the burning of fossil fuels off-site to provide the electricity.

Just my take.
 

Jonathan

Well-Known Member
Ultimately, I really hope we eventually obtain a workable knowledge of Fusion power. I know, I know ("It's only 30 years away" said all the scientists since the dawn of the nuclear age), and we still don't have a proper fusion reactor that is commercially viable.

Still, that would be the panacea. As close as we would ever get to "free" and "environmentally friendly" energy.
 

Luke12

Well-Known Member
To me they're not worth it just because I would think maintenance would require special skills especially if there would be a fender bender or worse. How about if the electronics components get damaged ?

The batteries scare me. I was at a model helicopter fly-in a few years ago when someone was fast charging his Lipo battery pack. Something went wrong and it caught fire and flared up, and I mean flared up. I was standing 10 or 15 feet away from it and if I would have been closer I might have been severely burned.

A few years back Boeing had a Lithium battery problem on their 787 Dreamliner. I haven't followed the story in recent years but they have had fires in mid-air. And one fire that started by itself with nobody on the aircraft while it was parked at an airport.
They didn't find out the cause of that (to my knowledge) but the fire consumed part of the composite skin of the aircraft.
The manufacturers are working on different battery technologies I read and there are several Lithium technologies.

No thanks, I'll stick to the old-fashioned internal combustion engine...… :biggrin2
 
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RobinB

Well-Known Member
We have a Chevy Volt, which we bought more for hubby to have a science project than for environmental reasons. We've done many calculations but can never be sure we actually save money. The state gave us a grant to install a charging station in our garage, which is very nice, but we really don't know how much electricity we use for charging. The thing I love is less trips to gas station-- we are averaging around 45 mpg. Lifetime mpg for the car overall is around 80. So we definitely save on gasoline..... just can't be sure savings overall.
 

RobinB

Well-Known Member
To me they're not worth it just because I would think maintenance would require special skills especially if there would be a fender bender or worse. How about if the electronics components get damaged ?


No thanks, I'll stick to the old-fashioned internal combustion engine...…
That's why we bought the extended warranty, the technology is so complicated.
 

TeeTee

Well-Known Member
My friend had a chevy volt. First, she had to charge it every night. Then fully charged, she would fill up tank with gas. Driving outside 100 miles, there are no charging stations. Had to do gas only. Power outages (rare, but happens) meant no car to drive. Charging the car for XX number of hours before driving was an inconvience, since she had to wait or go and get gas. She suggested that I get an chevy volt, I said I could not own one. Because at the time, where I lived in an old historic neighborhood. Parking only on street, because there were no garages or driveways. No place to charge car. I did like the way it ran and the style of it. Also if 0 degrees or more below zero, can not "jump" the car. She eventually sold it and got a regular car. She tired of keeping track of chargeing it/gas in tank. Also I think she never really could go beyond 80 mph. I know a regular car can. Much simpler now. Just my observation.
 

Carl

Well-Known Member
I thought the charge cycle would drop the efficiency of the cars. However what I found is that the lithium batteries basically use all the current they get in a charge to fill the battery with juice. So from that perspective the environment comes out ahead since electricity generation is more efficient than an internal combustion engine. But there is work to be done on batteries.
 

Luke12

Well-Known Member
I thought the charge cycle would drop the efficiency of the cars. However what I found is that the lithium batteries basically use all the current they get in a charge to fill the battery with juice. So from that perspective the environment comes out ahead since electricity generation is more efficient than an internal combustion engine. But there is work to be done on batteries.
To me the issue is still safety. Even the charger has to operate correctly. Lithium batteries can be charged only to a certain voltage then the charging current must be stopped or the battery will overheat and be damaged. There's also a limit on how high a current that may be used. Anything over that limit would ruin the battery. They also can't be discharged below a certain voltage or they may be damaged by that also. Charging them isn't 100% efficient as some heat is lost.
But you're right, more work needs to be done on battery technology.
 

Popcornfish

Well-Known Member
And do they help the environment?
Great replies here and especially the fact that the cars have to be charged by electricity at a charging station. Here they have Tesla stations at a local mini market. We asked someone there getting their Tesla (named after the inventor Nikola Tesla) how long it takes. Nearly an hour.
What also need be said is that the batteries do run out and you have to buy a new one. These run in the thousands of dollars depending on the manufacturer. Prius runs over $5 thousand.
Also, the batteries can't be recycled.

There is a lot of exploitation in the green energy market. CFB's , Compact Florescent Bulbs, for instance, contain about 500 milligrams of Mercury vapor. As do CFL's. If you break one your house is toxic to you, children and especially pets and newborns. And you can't vacuum up the debris because that just disperses the gas in the air further when moving the vacuum over the break.
You can't even clean it up with a broom.
How to clean up broken CFB's

Those bulbs, when they burn out, have to be recycled at the special section of any state sponsored recycling center too.
In Canada not that long ago a woman suffered serious injury to one side of her face. She'd used a CFB in her desk lamp and it caused damage to the side of her face nearest that lamp. I don't recall any American media covering this. And now I can't find the article reporting this either.

And faulty CFB's are an issue also. >LINK

2009 New CFL bulbs could cause sun burn
 

TeeTee

Well-Known Member
Also I read that electric cars do not do well in climates when temps dip 0 degrees or lower. Don't see alot of electric cars in Alaska? I didn't think so.
 

Tall Timbers

Imperfect but forgiven
Also I read that electric cars do not do well in climates when temps dip 0 degrees or lower. Don't see alot of electric cars in Alaska? I didn't think so.
There are a lot of Prius's in Fairbanks... I don't know about pure electric vehicles... whether people have them up here or not... but the hybrids don't seem to have any problems.
 

RobinB

Well-Known Member
My friend had a chevy volt. First, she had to charge it every night. Then fully charged, she would fill up tank with gas. Driving outside 100 miles, there are no charging stations. Had to do gas only. Power outages (rare, but happens) meant no car to drive. Charging the car for XX number of hours before driving was an inconvience, since she had to wait or go and get gas. She suggested that I get an chevy volt, I said I could not own one. Because at the time, where I lived in an old historic neighborhood. Parking only on street, because there were no garages or driveways. No place to charge car. I did like the way it ran and the style of it. Also if 0 degrees or more below zero, can not "jump" the car. She eventually sold it and got a regular car. She tired of keeping track of chargeing it/gas in tank. Also I think she never really could go beyond 80 mph. I know a regular car can. Much simpler now. Just my observation.

That's so true, you need a place to charge. We put a charging station in our garage, but we often comment that people in apartments, condos, small homes, etc, would not find a good way to do it.

We have no problem with speed, or heating and a/c, all that's like a normal car.
 

SonSeeker

Well-Known Member
My wife and I owned and operated an RV Park/Campground for many years. We would get Tesla's coming in to recharge at our 50 Amp RV pedestals. They had their own adapters with them, probably provided by Tesla. Although they were connected to a 50 Amp pedestal, the car itself could only accept 40 Amps. No idea why, but it was common knowledge among the Tesla owners.
What they liked about us was we were never "off line"!:thumbup
 
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