Disclaimer

Disclaimer. After nearly 40 years managing money for some of the largest life offices and investment managers in the world, I think I have something to offer. But I can't by law give you advice, and I do make mistakes. Remember: the unexpected sometimes happens. Oddly enough, the expected does too, but all too often it takes longer than you thought it would, or on the other hand happens more quickly than you expected. The Goddess of Markets punishes (eventually) greed, folly, laziness and arrogance. No matter how many years you've served Her. Take care. Be humble. And don't blame me.

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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Are EVs cleaner than petrol cars?

One of the factoids wheeled out by soft denialists is that it's no good switching to an electric car or a hybrid because the coal used to produce electricity emits twice as much carbon as the oil used to drive cars.  Actually, EVs are 5 times as efficient as ICEs at converting energy into motion.  (ICE = Internal Combustion Engine cars, using petrol/gasoline/diesel; EV = electric vehicle) Unlike the case with EVs, most of the energy in a conventional ICE is wasted as heat, and doesn't drive the car forward.  Which means that even with a grid completely powered by coal, electric cars still produce fewer lifetime emissions than  petrol cars. And of course, the larger the proportion of renewables in the grid, the lower the effective MPG of EVs.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has done the numbers in the USA.  They calculate what miles per gallon (MPG) a ICE vehicle would have to achieve to produce fewer emissions than an electric car.  They're pretty high. (These estimates were calculated using 2014 renewables percentages.  Since then the percentage of renewables in most US grids has risen)

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