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Electric cars risk losing green sheen in Japan

42 Comments
By Yuri Kageyama

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42 Comments
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So if oil & gas is used to supply electric power, the cars are more eco-friendly? I'm dead-set against restarting the nuke plants & Japan needs to invest in alternative energy sources but its a bit of a weak argument to me... saying that the car company or owners are not being green. I mean, what are their options?. To me, the fault lies with the Japanese govt for not finding a better solution to the country's energy needs...

6 ( +10 / -4 )

What about refrigerators and cellphones? Don't they run purely on electricity? Aren't they thus tainted with the dreaded nuclear power? Dammit, now I know why my TV glows at night.

You can't have cake and eat it. Stop blaming electric cars for what they are, unless you're ready to give up electricity altogether.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

People need to educate themselves better. Nuclear isn't bad if used correctly. There are literally hundreds of different ways to utilise uranium based energy. In the 50's America chose the method that would produce plutonium as to create nuclear weapons. There are much safer and better ways to harness nuclear energy. Such as the Thorium reactor. It creates no waste, doesn't require cool down and can be switched off with a flick of a switch..

HOWEVER, we will never go down this path cause certain nations need there plutonium fix for nuclear weapons. Stupid humans are stupid. And yes, thorium was discovered also in the 50's.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

$36,000) in Japan, after the 780,000 yen ($9,400) green subsidy. In the U.S., the Leaf sells for about $25,000 after applying a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Is there any explanation for this? Why does the car cost almost 50% more in this country? Is the consumer ebing ripped off?

The idea is to have people charge their cars at night when electricity usage is low. A problem utilities have all over the world is the difference between peak and non-peak power usage, and they try to supply the peaks. Electric cars are not to blame for the peaks.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

In the very near future a different kind of battery will be available. The current batteries are an expensive item and heavy. The new battery is the body of the car. The entire body is the battery which will make the car lighter and therefore getting more distance from a charge. Solar panels can also be part of the body which charges the battery, like if you leave it in a car park.

Electric cars can have a future because they use less energy than a gas driven car. Gas cars don't only use gas but also a high amount of other energy. The oil must be extracted, processed, transported across the globe, processed again, transported again to gas stations, power used by gas stations. Gas cars need more maintenance just because they have many more moving parts. They greatly add to the atmospheric pollution and sometimes to the marine pollution like the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Electric cars can be charged with over night off peak power.

Wind energy can be used to provide extra power during peak time power demands by changing the way they generate energy. On wind energy plants based on the coast or better offshore, the turbines turn when the wind is available but instead of generating power they produce compressed air which is stored in bags on the sea bed. During daytime peak power demand, the compressed air is used to turn power turbines.

This system could also be used with overnight power. Instead of wind turbines, compressed air is produced and stored on the sea bed. Its used to generate power during peak demand. Some of the nuclear power plants could be used for this since they already have most of the plant in place.

A similar situation could be used with solar plants producing compressed air or storing the energy in salt which can supply heat to produce steam to turn turbines that generate power and can be almost 24/7.

Some scientists are having success producing hydrogen by using sunlight. There will be a future for hydrogen.

Hydropower is already built out, and more dangerous than nuclear in case of an earthquake.

Nonsense.

@Gudni Gudnason

I have a Tesla Roadster

I don't believe you? But we like the dream.

@Bebert61

Solar and wind power cannot replace nuclear power

I disagree with you. Prior to 3/11 nuclear energy was generating about 25% of total power. Renewable energies which would include solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biogas, could replace the power generated by nuclear energy if the right types of plant are constructed.

Advancements in technology are becoming available which will enable you to generate all the power and energy you need and for free. No more monthly utility bills.

Thousands of people across the globe have built their own eco homes and are generating all the power they need. No more monthly mortgage payments.

Big Nuke, Big Energy, will oppose these kind of ideas and will put out propaganda to try and stop it.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Do not restart reactors. People will get through the short-term inconveniences.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

I have a Tesla Roadster and I am charging it on Solar Power. Takes me 8 hours to charge it and I get 400 km out of that. Solar and Wind power is the way of the people and we can CHOSE to just ignore the grid if we want to. PEACE

3 ( +4 / -1 )

If one has a solar powered charging station then such an issues never arises.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Nuclear power plants and all of their radioactive pollution are EVIL but we must break away from that evil form of energy

Western education at its best.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What about the environmental impact of the manufacture of the chemical batteries?

In terms of practicality, a lot of places in North America often see minus 30 degree weather. The Leaf's range drops considerably in those conditions.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sounds like the author chose to skip the fact that you can charge the car on off peak electricity (i.e. when few others are using the grid, no impaact on demand, no specific need to restart nuclear power plants), AND the car can then actually be used to power the home, reducing demand again. You can set up solar generation at home if you are lucky enough to live in a house, also charge that way, and then be completely independant of fossil and nuclear fuels. But that wouldn't make good reading would it?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nuclear fission is not the only source of electricity. Engineers and innovators are constantly looking for newer, better, cleaner sources as well. I think electric cars and gas-electric hybrids will be the norm of the future, with or without nuclear energy.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The entire earth is "nuclear powered" by the sun.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tesla Roadster

At first I read "Testa Rossa" but then I thought "at THAT price, nothing is too expensive" !

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I have a Tesla Roadster and I am charging it on Solar Power. Takes me 8 hours to charge it and I get 400 km out of that. Solar and Wind power is the way of the people and we can CHOSE to just ignore the grid if we want to. PEACE

This is the same car that if you let the battery go all the way down, you are stuck with a $100,000 brick that can't be started unless you put in another batery at $40,000. Also, there was a story about a man who brought a Tesla to Japan, and due to the currency differences couldn't recharge it and was left with a 1 ton brick.

I guess the way of the people is to buy $100,000 cars. Next you are going to tell me that you are down with the OWS crowd.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sounds like the author chose to skip the fact that you can charge the car on off peak electricity

If more and more people are using electric cars, and charging them when the current demand is low, wouldn't that make the demand increase since when one would normally have a decrease, you now have an increase in power consumtpion since more and more people are charging their cars? What about people who may need to charge during peak hours? Are they not going to be able to do so due to energy regulatioin?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Is that car smiling?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I want an explanation too. And its not only cars. the kicker, weve been in a Deflation for decades!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Long touted as a clean, zero-emission alternative to vehicles powered by dirty fossil fuels, electric cars are now at risk of being tainted by their association with nuclear.

I think the ad campaogm of Green power is finally facing the hard facts of science. Sure I believe we can do more to help reduce pollution on the earth, but the whole wave of these so called "green energy" plans using electricity didn't really make much since. Solar is fine to a point. They haven't taken into account cloudy days, and the winter time when the amount of daylight hours decreases than summer. That is a time when people run heaters at night to keep themselves warm, or just use lights to see. Also, if everyone started to plug in their cars at the same time, wouldn't that put an increase on the electrical load across the country/

When was the last gas turbine or coal fired electrical generation plant built in Japan? If they have not been keeping up with technology and using the better techniques to burn those fossil fuels, then shame on the Japanese government/electric companies for not looking ahead.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The short-term inconveniences of not using fission reactors will last some 50 years until we have reliable fusion power. Oil will not be affordable for long, and Japan will keep losing jobs at an accelerated pace.

Wind generators only work when the wind is blowing, disturbs animal habitats and requires lots of rare earth metals that are mined predominantly in China, with horrendous environmental damages. Solar panels are reliable and affordable, and can take over most peak use power in the countryside, but Japan does not have the space necessary to power the industry and cities with it.Hydropower is already built out, and more dangerous than nuclear in case of an earthquake.

Of all the renewable power sources, only solar power (and maybe ocean-based hydropower) stands any chance to offer a reliable and green power source, and even then base power generation is required.

As for hydrogen powered cars: hydrogen is difficult to store and very flammable. Better to join it with carbon to make a hydrocarbon, that can then be used in a fuel cell. The carbon can be taken from the outlets of factories. Alternatively, vehicles can run on hydrogen, and are later connected to the power grid and water service, and uses electrolysis to produce more hydrogen. As no hydrogen leaves the car, a safe tank can be designed.

But as for immediate needs: 1) start construction on generation 4 fission plants. They are much safer than the current old active-cooling plants, and the waste is only radioactive for 300-500 years. No fuel is needed as the waste from current reactors can be used as fuel.

2) Fuel cells everywhere where hydrocarbons are currently combusted. Diesel trains, trucks, cars, etc, should have fuel cells.

3) Long-term investment in fusion power technology. Also, long-term research into sustainable socioeconomic systems.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That topic it so old. So it not news. Russia vote for hybrid. Now electrocar have many problems around accumulator. Because accumulator is not ecology-safe. What can told Mitsubishi, Nissan about utilization accumulators of their electrocar?! I need answer on my question!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Also i hope that all accumulators that produced in Japan will return to Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Even if all power plants are running on fuel oil or LNG the electric plug in car can still be a benefit. The car is usually being charged at night when the utility is "off peak". That and the utility can burn fossil fuel much more efficiently than individual cars on the road.

As for those touting hydrogen. Time to go back to the science textbooks. The manufacture of hydrogen gas/liquid is oil dependent. Only seawater electrolysis by way of solar is economical but incredibly time consuming. Then you still need more energy to pound the gas into liquid.

Hydrogen is never found on earth in its pure form. It has to be derived from other compounds and that takes .... energy.

Hydrogen for mobility only is practical in Hollywood.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For decades, nuclear generation has been a crucial source of power here

That right there was enough that I stopped reading. Cruciall my lily white...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Never thought about it this way, but the article makes a good point, EV cars are "nuclear" powered in a sense.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

'such an issue'

0 ( +0 / -0 )

EV cars are "nuclear" powered in a sense.

Actually, if we think like that, all energy we use come from nuclear. Solar, wind, hydro comes from solar radiation, produced by nuclear fusion in the sun. Geothermal comes from nuclear fission deep inside our planet, which is why we have such high background radiation on Earth.

@zichi

Nonsense.

If you look at the wikipedia article, "deaths from energy sources per kWh produced", you'll find it is not nonsense. In fact, although I cannot be sure, didn't a dam come pretty close to breaking during 3/11?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is a nonsequitor comparison. In fact electric cars are the most suitable for energy efficiency as it doesn't matter what you use to make electricity. Thus it is the most robust. Also note that however that electricity is generated it would be local and not subject to world oil prices.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Electrocar is not ecology-safe transport because her accumulator is not long-live, also exists problem utilization that. While not solved accumulator problem electrocar can not use as ecology-safe transport.

The thorium is so good. India and Russia have program for that. Also JAXA have program Solar Space Power System. I sure that it can be very perspective.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Then Japan should make it mandatory all homes have a solar and wind generation plant. Who will pay for it, easy stop sending money overseas.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Many are not aware that, because he lives in New York, he can get his electricity from a company that relies solely on wind power—a kind of business that doesn’t exist yet in Japan, where utility regulations remain rigid and closed.

Does his power fluctuate and occasionally drop out altogether? If so, he gets his power solely from wind. If not, then he's fibbing.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

'YuriOtani' another area where Japan can save money is by stop paying for other countries wars.

After a couple of months regular gasoline will hit 180yen at the stand, I will be looking forward to all the complaints everyone has against Nuclear energy then.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes Robert Roo and el mejicano are right Japan needs another source of energy such as solar panels etc.. Check Ben fulford on YouTube Peace!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Electric cars only make sense in two major scenarios: the first one is that the electricity used to charge them is made from renewable energy sources. The second one is to reduce air pollution in the large cities (at the expense of some other places). The second one is still a valid target, but without making major efforts to change to renewable energy sources the market for electrical cars in Japan will remain limited. When will the government finally understand that the promotion of renewable energy is a much-needed stimulus for the economy?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

sf2k, "Also note that however that electricity is generated it would be local and not subject to world oil prices".

Except that Japan imports all the viable energy dense alternatives to nuclear such as coal, oil and LNG and all are volatile.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think car more action time but still keeping its environmental approach. And it's very true Electrocar is not ecology-safe transport because her accumulator is not long-live.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Mexicano ur dead right only thing stopping Japan becoming green is big oil. Should be wind farms all over Japan. Solar on every roof top and other forms of elec explored just common sence.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Solar and wind power cannot replace nuclear power or power from fossil fuels. Anyone who believes they can must not have a background in science and engineering. They can't produce the same amount of energy even if you clear cut all the forests for solar farms and lined the coasts with avian chopping wind turbines. So put down the joint, hippie, and accept that the nuclear plants are going to have to be restarted.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Japan is one of the most volcanically active countries in the world. I don't see why they don't do more geothermal power.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Why does the electricity for these cars need be produced by big nuke? And if they instead are just regular cars, not electric or hybrid, are they therefore more eco-friendly? This comparison, and the article, are a stretch at best.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Nuclear power plants and all of their radioactive pollution are EVIL but we must break away from that evil form of energy, the Norwegians have made cars that run on HYDROGEN, what is keeping the Japanese and the rest of the world from adopting this technology?? Is is big oil $$$$$$ interests??

-2 ( +4 / -5 )

Mirai Hayashi, you are totally right, this country will never learn from their mistakes and more people will die in the name of big nuke, big oil and endless profit.....but hey..like they say: "People get what they deserve".

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

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