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Switch to electric vehicles could end oil era

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By Patrick GALEY

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Emerging markets switching from petrol and diesel engines to electric vehicles (EVs) could save $250 billion annually and slash expected growth in global oil demand by as much as 70 percent.

And create new jobs.

And reduce the chances of more wars for oil, gas and their shipment.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I am 100% for getting rid of carbon based fuels but there are issues which must be addressed. I also agree with Mr. Townsend above (certainly jobs will be created). However articles like this do not present the entire picture (I wonder if the author(s) have any engineering background whatsoever). The article reads like an advertisement for the EV industry (or a press release).

Although I fully agree with some of the stated time horizons, cutting all carbon by 2050 is not realistic. It is a goal we should work towards but likely will not be achievable unless another unpopular method of energy generation is used.

China has indicated they will do this by 2060 and rightly or wrongly so (another debate) they are going to use nuclear power to do it. China is simultaneously building coal fired plants and nuclear power plants. This year the CCP has approved the construction of 6-8 reactors per year. I certainly have my issues with China but China is a planned economy and nation whose government does not/will not change and they are smart enough to know that wind and solar are not going to meet this goal.

I do not work in the oil and gas industry and I actually benefit when electric vehicles are produced. I am all for it! But let's be realistic. I do not own a car and rent when needed for work or on the rare occasion we need it for personal travel (one nice thing about Japan).

The first issue is that batteries need energy to charge. This energy needs to be provided from somewhere (Newton's law related to the conservation of energy has not changed and the perpetual motion machine has yet to be invented). Electrical power must be generated to charge the batteries which will be added to the existing base load. In a country like the Japan the capacity and availability of wind and solar power cannot make up the difference. There are land, terrain, and availability issues. In California (my home state) this is achievable if local solar production is used and adequate storage is provided however this is not the case for all over the U.S. or the world.

Next there are the losses between the generation source and the point of utilization. Transmission losses are around 15-17% (think across the country power lines) while distribution losses are around 50% (moving the power from the substation to the utilization point). These losses are due to the resistance (impedance) of transmission lines, cables, and transformers. Superconductors would help but we are far away from that. On top of that is the fact that the efficiency of the vehicle is not 100%. There are losses within the vehicle which include power conversion, motor efficiency, and mechanical losses. If the losses of getting the energy to the vehicle are added to the losses within the vehicle the entire cycle are pretty dramatic.

Finally the technology used is the Lithium Ion battery. I performed a project for one of Japan's major auto makers last decade (funny to say that - last decade). This project was for a battery production facility in the UK. There is a significant amount of environmental damage which occurs in the production of Lithium ion batteries from the mining of the Lithium to the actual construction of the battery.

In addition to the above there is a limited finite supply of Lithium in the world so the wars for oil may be turned into wars for other natural resources. China is taking great measures to ensure access to these resources is assured (I think we all know about their "Silk Road" initiatives).

I personally believe, unless safer technologies of nuclear generation are considered (i.e. EPR, Candu, or AP1000) we have yet to discover the secret to satisfy the human need and desire for energy.

I believe a solution exists but we have yet to find it. When the correct solution is found it will be one of mankind's greatest achievements.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Great, this can not happen soon enough. Some disputes over sea and ocean territories will disappear if nobody wants the oil and gas resources. Only fishing rights will be left and that's not worth starting wars over.

Less flashpoints = less conflicts and disagreements = good for everyone.

Less carbondioxide = better for planet and all life on it.

Many good things about moving away from oil and gas.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Only in dreams alas.

It is a matter of energy.

Weight cannot be diminished to zero so moving even a kei car is energy costly and not enough green energy can be produced or flowed in too short time to please current needs for mobility.

The size of electric cables cannot grow to feed if we all switch to that only type of energy, especially with aircon on by the way.

Or only if finding new type of energy storage or local continuous generator.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I'll be glad when I'm not financing the proselytising of Wahhabism just to get from A to B.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

When the first world countries wean themselves away from petroleum products, the lack of competition for such resources will lower the demand-price and allow the developing and third world countries to be able to afford cheaper transportation and shipping. This will raise their standards of living. The Global South will become where all the fossil fuels will be consumed in the later parts of this century.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Switch to electric vehicles could end oil era

Ummmmm, yeah.....wasn't that the whole point of this?

And pretty much the goal of the entire planet?

Well, outside of the middle east of course.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Seeing is believing. A price collapse may lengthen the use of petroleum based fuels for decades to come. Additionally, these products are taxed giving government sorely needed revenues. Converting all lighting to LED's would be a fasting and more stable approach to lowering fossil fuels dependency...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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