By on January 10, 2020

us-capitol, public domain

Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI) introduced new legislation on Wednesday in a bid to improve the uptake of electric vehicles in the United States. The bill, known as the USA Electrify Forward Act, would appropriate $2 billion annually for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program between 2021 and 2035.

Dingell cited a May 2019 AAA survey that reported just 16 percent of Americans as saying they would consider an electric vehicle for their next automotive purchase, claiming something needs to be done address EV pricing, repair costs, and range. The primary focus of the bill is to help in the development and manufacturing of advanced battery technologies and anything else that might help get more Americans into EVs. 

That includes other plug-in tech, plus improvements to the United States’ charging network. USA Electrify Forward Act is also supposed to direct the Department of Transportation to modernize residential and commercial building codes to encourage the installation of higher capacity charging ports. Additionally, it asks states to take separate measures to ensure EV charging stations proliferate.

“We must continue to keep the United States at the forefront of innovation and technology, while simultaneously address critical environmental issues including the reduction of our carbon footprint. Electric vehicle development and deployment is critical to advancing the future of transportation, creating jobs and addressing climate change,” Dingell stated.

“The USA Electrify Forward Act makes critical investments in manufacturing and infrastructure to lower costs for consumers and producers. Americans have a growing interested in electric vehicles, but we must take steps now to inspire greater consumer confidence and ensure American Made electric vehicles are the greatest in the world. We also want to ensure that Michigan remains the global center of the auto industry.”

Rep. Dingell’s ultimate goal is to ensure the United States swiftly transitions “to a clean, net zero emissions economy” with a comprehensive charging infrastructure and a bunch of EV manufacturing centered in the midwest. She’s also part of a coalition of lawmakers — along with Reps. Aston Donald McEachin (D-VA), Deb Haaland (D-NM), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Paul Tonko (D-NY), and Chellie Pingree (D-ME) — who’ve set goal of achieving a 100 percent clean energy economy by 2050.

While there was also a nod to promoting job creation, the complete text of the USA Electrify Forward Act doesn’t get terribly specific on the matter. The Trump administration has basically accused electrification of obliterating jobs — something that rings true after seeing automakers cut positions around the globe to free up cash for expensive mobility/EV projects. But there’s no real way of knowing if that will be the case years down the road, once EVs are more commonplace. Less parts likely means fewer hands on the assembly line but, if that’s the direction the world is heading anyway, there’s reason to examine the situation and attempt to be ready. We just can’t say whether or not the USA Electrify Forward Act will be truly helpful.

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76 Comments on “New Bill Aims to Boost America’s EV Adoption...”


  • avatar
    2manycars

    There is no legitimate reason at all for this mad rush towards electrification, and certainly no legitimate reason to use taxpayer money for it. I really don’t care what kind of “nudging” government tries to do – the mere fact that they and the enviro-nazis want me in an electric car means that I will never buy one.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Exactly. Get ready for Solyndra II, more grants to players who can’t get financing from Wall Street for their pie-in-the-sky business plans.

      Congress instead should be looking at electricity generation and distribution. It’s time for the people who want to eliminate fracking and fossil fuels to confront where the electricity for cars (and mass transit) will come from.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      There are of course many legitimate reasons, public health among them, but the largest is climate change. US fleet average MPG is about 24.5 MPG; electric cars routinely get the equivalent of 100 MPG. That’s a lot less fossil fuel burned. Further, this is happening in tandem with the gradual greening of the grid, with coal replaced by natural gas and natgas replaced by renewables (together with storage and smart grid). The two biggest carbon emitting sectors are transportation and power generation; it makes sense to decarbonize them together in sync.

      I suspect you’re not sincerely interested in learning why, of course — more likely you’re just ranting, and your next move would be to recite your pre-programmed talking points about how AGW isn’t real. But of course it is, there is worldwide scientific consensus at this point, and it’s a literal existential crisis. Frankly that means there’s no time to waste with nonsense: we all need to take seriously our responsibility to be thoughtful, curious, engaged, informed citizens, not the loudmouths at the end of the bar.

      Government isn’t a comic book enemy; it’s the way we come together to solve shared problems, and it’s comprised of people elected by the populace from the populace. If you want less crappy representation, you’ll need to start modeling and expecting less crappy behavior. Environmentalists aren’t a comic book enemy; they’re primarily earnest and sincere people who want fewer people to die painful, premature, preventable deaths — literally the opposite of “nazis.” If you want a less adversarial relationship with them, you could start by not calling them names and reflexively blocking anything they suggest because it’s them suggesting it.

      As Pogo said: we have met the enemy and he is us.

      • 0 avatar
        IBx1

        “MPGe” is a misleading number that isn’t based on anything solid; it focuses on emissions from power generation that vary depending on where you live. It should be miles per kWh so you can compare unit to unit.

        A late 1st gen Volt goes 38 miles on an effective 10.9kWh battery, yielding just under 3.5mi/kWh. Gasoline has 33.7kWh of energy content per gallon, so equating this to “MPG” yields an efficiency figure around 118MPG. It’s rated at 77MPGe though.

        Going further, if you take this full electric range and average it with the gasoline-mode 40mpg over its full 9.3 gallon tank, you get 47MPG from a full tank and full charge to bone dry. Still rated at 77MPGe.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          @IBx1: It’s misleading to you because you’re not reading it right. The MPGe specifically relates to the ENERGY in a gallon of gasoline in direct joule for joule comparison. It has nothing to do with how much energy is burned making the electricity just like MPG for a gasoline car has nothing to do with the energy burned in making the gasoline (or diesel.)

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    $23 trillon and counting last I checked, oh but yeah we got your corporate welfare right here.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    There are several legitimate reasons to push for this; probably the most important one is to eliminate pollution which is killing people and animals around the world. Did you people STILL die of carbon monoxide poisoning in their cars?

    And in all honesty I’m surprised you wouldn’t want a car with all the power you could want and no stink of exhaust smoke–especially if you didn’t have to dash to the gas station every few days just to keep it running.

    EVs simply have too many advantages to ignore.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Given my 15-20 minute commute, an electric car would make sense as an “around town” vehicle. Also have a gasser for my wife for the longer road trips since she often has to visit other counties for her job.

    But I’m not a fan of more handouts for the rich ;)

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      They could do like California and scale subsidies by income, so that nobody who can afford one of the pricier EVs gets money for it…but honestly that’s virtue-signaling in the truest sense, since on a cost-benefit basis means-testing is a loser. And honestly if a tax benefit makes Richie Rich buy an EV too so he can brag how smart he is with deductions, then good, because the idea is to sell enough EVs to drive economies of scale, and a battery cell is a battery cell whether you install it in a cheap car or an expensive one.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Tesla isn’t based in Michigan – that’s the problem.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Fix the darn website or sell it!!!!!!!!

    I can’t reply to posts.
    I have to try multiple times to sign-in.
    I can’t edit my own posts.
    I can’t click on a post and go immediately to it.

    In 2020 this level of technical ineptitude is unacceptable.

  • avatar
    Dartdude

    One thing everyone keeps forgetting about is electricity. Electricity is a basic need and it is not free. Just like ethanol drove up the price of corn, electric cars are going drive up the price of electricity. Wind and solar will never be enough to offset the cost. Also solar panels last around twenty years, than you have to factor in there replacement costs. The govt should give out loans instead of free money!

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      Nah dude. Nobody is forgetting electricity. Electricity is side B of the strategy here, spinning in tandem with side A whether you’re listening to it or not. (I know, nobody gets record player analogies anymore.) Wind and solar are cheap at this point. Plenty of clever energy storage solutions exist. And we’re sitting on an ocean of dirt-cheap natural gas which, while not renewable, is at least cleaner than coal, and a reasonable bridge fuel to either renewables or the cleaner/safer nuclear technology that has been just five years away for the last fifty years.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    So many more effective ways to reduce pollution than spending two billion annually on electric cars.

    But they don’t have nearly the political sex appeal as electrics.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Electricity is a basic need and it is not free. Just like ethanol drove up the price of corn, electric cars are going drive up the price of electricity. ”

    That’s the plan!

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      My electricity bill keeps going up and I don’t have an electric car (and neither do most of my neighbors). Power companies have switched to natural gas instead of coal, cleaning the air, because fracking has made natural gas cheap enough to replace coal.

      Meanwhile, China is building hundreds of coal-fired power plants, and so is much of southeast asia and none of them can keep the air pollution inside their borders.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        China’s also retiring fleets of coal-fired plants, building staggering amounts of renewable energy and transmission capacity, and moving its fleet from ICE to EV. Flinging poo at China for their environmental record is one of my favorite pastimes, but if they keep this up, I’m going to have to find a new one.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Since this seems irreversible, maybe the long play is to invest heavily in electric utilities, based on Dartdude’s comment above?!

    Sorry for the double post. Cannot edit.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Thankfully this will die in the Senate.

    Bills like this simply direct funds to the politically connected, with a good portion of the money finding its way back to the Democratic party one way or another.

  • avatar
    Lokki

    “ There is no legitimate reason at all for this mad rush towards electrification…..”

    Sure there is. The average EV buyer is an upper middle class Democratic voter who will appreciate a government discount on their $45,000 – $50,000 car purchase. Probably pick up some votes with a deal like this… or at least that’s the idea.

    Not only that, but Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI) might even get some campaign contributions from GM who hope that a subsidized price will help them pick up some sales for their upcoming EV’s.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Debbie is the third consecutive Dingell to represent a Detroit district in Congress, going back to 1932. She replaced her late husband, who replaced his father. Rest assured, GM and the other automakers have been donating to the Dingells for decades.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    28-cars-later

    Amen Brother (or sister)

    $2 BILLION today, more tomorrow.

    Tesla may be in CA, but GM (and Mary Barra) are in Michigan, so it’s ‘logical’ that Mrs. Dingell would want to help the home team.

    No one is coercing people to use smartphones (or perhaps I should say “allow smart phones to control them”). If Electric cars are such a great idea, the marketplace will propel them.

    I like cars–though I like older ones more, even if newer ones are objectively better.

    That said, if they cause so many issues, tax motor fuel. There. That’s a boost for EVs, and will result in less fuel use. Use the money to fix interstate highways and bridges that are crumbling.

    I know I’m a fossil, but all this debt ($23 billion is just PART of it…how about future promises? How about college debt?) is going to take us somewhere very bad one day…and we will have a lot less time to enjoy TTAC and our cars….

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    $23 Billion today…..typo

  • avatar
    Jon

    @ dartdude

    “The govt should give out loans instead of free money”

    So the money that i gave to the government via taxes is loaned back to me which i have to return + interest all for buying a vehicle i dont want… Now i have to repay two loans. One to (insert manufacturer here) and one to gov.

    Hmmm…

  • avatar
    R Henry

    History reveals efforts by Governments, in USA and elsewhere, to pick winners and losers, always fail, and effectively serve as political gift-giving. I do not support such action.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    Vulpine, I don’t disagree with you.

    If the weather scientists say the temperature of the air and water is rising, I accept that as true.

    While the assertion of many that we really do not know how much pollution is contributing to climate change is technically correct, (the world, at least Europe had a mini ice age that coincided with the dark ages–or should I say, the dark ages resulted from socioeconomic changes precipitated by the cooler weather?), all this human activity and all this BURNING cannot NOT have some impact.

    So, if I grant you that, it is more prudent to TAX MOTOR FUEL, to affect human behavior, than to have $2 billion in govt spending to ‘help’ electric cars.

    You make gasoline expensive enough (it is CHEAP now), and more people will adopt electric cars.

    I just hate taxing gasoline because our leaders will spend the money on stupid stuff, rather than pay down the debt or fix the roads.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      That’s not a bad idea at all: not just a gas tax but a carbon tax, period. Economists love it, policy wonks love it, Al Gore proposed it and it ended his career. But yeah, if you like market-based solutions: carbon tax. Tax the hell out of carbon, and use the proceeds to fund a progressive income tax refund that effectively gives the money right back for low, middle, and upper middle earners. The net result is the vast majority of people are no worse off, but everybody responds to a price signal that finally reflects the true cost of fuels with their environmental impact accounted for. Coal instantly becomes uneconomical, high-MPG or EV cars instantly seem more attractive, etc. People respond to the price signal at the point of purchase; that’s human nature.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    R Henry,

    Have you heard of post-war Japan and MITI?

    How did that turn out for them?

    Korea? Singapore? Now China?

    I’m not an advocate of govt picking winners and losers, but it’s not as bad an idea as you make it sound.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    Tax motor fuel.

    Ban the use of ethanol in motor fuel.

    That’s my platform. It’s the right thing to do.

    If I win office, you should probably demand a recount….

    Right thing is usually not popular thing.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    test

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    @TomLU86: I was making no claims about Global Warming, Climate Change or anything of that nature, whether real or not. I was talking pure and simple about air pollution, which put me on the Asthma list as a child, over 60 years ago, and still has me there today, if not worse than ever. Sure, the air is clearer than it was but it is by no means clear enough.

    And personally, I like the idea of electric cars and always have. The convenience factor of an electric car today, even without any form of autonomy (other than simple cruise control) is compelling when you realize you almost never have to “refuel” at a dedicated site and your day can always start with the equivalent of a “full tank” by just plugging it in when you get home at night. How simple can that be?

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Dingell bringing home the pork.

  • avatar
    MBella

    Duchess Dingell. She inherited her seat from her husband who inherited it from his daddy. Didn’t we fight a revolution to get rid of this? She at least grew up in Michigan, but her husband never even lived in his district. He lived his entire life in DC.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    Fascism is back in the light.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    To TTAC censors, I apologize in advance.

    Hey Debbie, go eff yourself. You and the other street walkers masquerading as ‘representing the people’s interests’ need to kindly and gently take a nice long swim in the chilly Lake Michigan waters for a few hours. I promise I’ll have some hot cocoa for you.

    This type of grotesque welfare needs to end and we voters need to get rid of these bottom feeders stat. Want to know a foundational problem with our country? People like Debbie pretending to help but in reality just using taxpayers to prop up her incompetent friends.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    Well, no comment as to how her late husband is now looking up from hell, so I guess this is restrained.

    And I highly doubt anyone in a position to object to a comment like yours is working for TTAC.

  • avatar
    13withinfinity

    EV’s are great til you actually want to go somewhere that is not anywhere near society or realistic infrastructure. Then suddenly they are pretty terrible.

    Some of us actually do go places that EV’s simply cannot go, and that will likely never change until there is some way for them to charge their own selves in a realistic fashion, so you don’t end up stranded.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    @13withinfinity: “Some of us actually do go places that EV’s simply cannot go, and that will likely never change until there is some way for them to charge their own selves in a realistic fashion, so you don’t end up stranded.”

    At one time the same could have been said about the ICE. Their argument: “Get a Horse!”

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @tomLU86–Agree, I don’t mind paying a higher fuel tax if it is used directly to repair, improve, and rebuild roads and bridges. Don’t want to use extra fuel tax revenue for bike paths or parking lots for such things as the Lawrence Welk museum. The State of Ohio is now taxing owners of hybrid and EVs an additional tax because of the shortage of fuel tax revenue. Government subsidies to auto companies to make EVs is just another waste of taxpayer dollars. I am not against EVs but I am not in favor of more Government subsidies and bailouts.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Fuel taxes, state and federal, are cents per gallon, regardless of price. Fewer gallons sold, even at higher prices, result in less money for road maintenance.

      Replacing the cents-per-gallon with a price based sales tax on fuel would produce more money, but raise fuel prices, and tempt politicians to dip into the pot of “revenue” for other purposes, just like they’ve dipped into the c-p-g for bike paths, trolleys, etc., but on a larger scale.

      The solution is to elect different politicians.

  • avatar
    13withinfinity

    @Vulpine

    Explain to me how you plan on making an EV operate for a week in an area with no electrical infrastructure, in a vehicle that’s already ladden with heavy batteries, along with a large amount of other equipment that sustains your own desire to get away from the rest of society?

    No offense, while the technology is great and all that, it’s simply not feasible right now and likely won’t be for the next 10 or so years unless we develop a much more efficient way to charge such batteries in the middle of nowhere.

    For now, the worst case with my ICE 4×4 is that I call somebody on the sat phone and ask them bring me some more gas, which is far more doable than asking somebody to give me a boost out in the middle of the sticks, let alone a place you need a high clearance vehicle for.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    @13withinfinity: Just as there are niche locations where a horse is more viable than an ICE, there are niche locations where the ICE is more viable–and that’s typically off-road where most EVs aren’t even trying to go… yet.

    But that will change over time. It’s easy enough already to carry portable solar panels along if you’re camping off road, though those are typically used to power other electrical ‘conveniences’ that were once considered ‘too civilized’ for back-country camping. Add to this that in most parts of the country electricity is readily available within the average range of a modern BEV and part of your argument is already moot. There are only a few places left in this country where the nearest electricity is more than 50 miles away, even if it isn’t a 150kWh DC charger.

    Too many people are jumping to conclusions about what a BEV can or cannot do. They don’t realize that even the ICEV had to go through the exact same growing pains, a century ago.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    At their current level of development, pure BEVs are good only for local service. The best of them will let you get 150 miles from home. Long distance travel is impractical because of the time lost recharging. If you only have one vehicle, a PHEV is the best choice. Its range on battery is enough for short trips and you have the gas engine and tank for long ones.

    Speeding up recharging and lowering costs is an engineering issue, not a political one. Insulating EV buyers from the true costs, at taxpayers’ expense, won’t improve the engineering.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      I like PHEVs — I own one. But even a Chevy Bolt EV has a range of 265 miles, not 150. Fast charging is fast enough even now for most trips, provided your state has sufficient infrastructure; and slow charging works just fine too if you’re going to be at your destination for a few hours.

      I think at this point PHEVs still make sense for AWD CUVs that may get driven on road trips to the arse of nowhere in terrible weather, where the security blanket of long range, easy fueling, and free waste heat for the cabin seems more compelling. For daily drivers though, I don’t see a reason to go PHEV over EV anymore.

  • avatar
    AnalogMan

    I’m totally for a cleaner environment and combatting global warming. After all, this is the only planet we have, so not killing it (and ourselves) with rising temperatures and sea levels is a very good idea.

    But the irony is that ‘electric cars’ are not “the” answer. The real solution is to change how electricity is generated. Otherwise, EVs are only as ‘clean’ as whatever energy source was used to generate the electricity:

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/electric-cars-are-not-necessarily-clean/

    “Electricity” is not a *source* of energy (unless you’re going to try and capture lightening). It doesn’t come out of a hole in the ground. It’s a way of transmitting or storing energy. But something else must be used to generate the electricity in the first place.

    Ideally that would be something renewable and clean, like solar, wind, or tidal. But the unpleasant reality is that in the U.S. right now, about 2/3 of electricity is still generated by fossil fuels, and another 20% from nuclear:

    https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=427&t=3

    An EV is honestly not “no emissions” (snarky Tesla and Leaf bumper stickers notwithstanding). They are *remote* emissions vehicles. The emissions just come from the power plant that was used to generate the electricity in the first place.

    It’s different if you live truly off the grid and generate all your own electricity with photovoltaic panels, or live in Oregon that gets 76% of its electricity from hydro. But in most of the country, ‘electric’ cars are really 85% fossil fuel or nuclear powered.

    It’s even more acute if you live in one of the 18 states that uses coal as its primary energy source for generating electricity, or one of the 16 states that uses natural gas as the primary energy source for electric power generation:

    https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=37034

    Simply putting more electric cars on the road just means generating more electricity the same way we are right now – which means mostly fossil fuels or nuclear power. Which is not exactly ‘environmentally friendly’.

    If we really want to save the planet – and ourselves – then the answer is to elect leaders who have the brains, courage, and integrity to make the hard, expensive, and politically unpopular decisions to create a renewable energy grid.

    Otherwise, ‘electric’ cars are often just a marketing ploy that make naive people think they’re ‘saving the planet’ (again excepting if you live off the grid or in Oregon). Some pseudo-green hypocrites get very mad when these facts are pointed out, but then, many people prefer a pleasant fantasy to a harsh reality. Anger seems to be a common reaction to having one’s bubble burst. Some truths really are inconvenient, but are true nonetheless.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      You are exactly half right. Yes, we need to clean up the grid. But no, it’s not a one-for-one “long tailpipe” substitution situation even with the current grid. I don’t think that’s been true since like 1995, if it was ever true at all. The US fleet average is about 24.5 MPG. An electric car gets the equivalent of 100 MPG. That’s a lot of fossil fuel saved. And the whole reason for going electric in the first place is so that transportation gets cleaner as the grid gets cleaner…and efforts to green the grid continue, with it getting cleaner with each passing year.

      • 0 avatar
        conundrum

        An electric car doesn’t get 100mpg equivalent. That’s the fiction put about by greenies, the EU and the bureaucrats at the EPA.

        Only about 35% of a thermal generating plant’s energy gets to the final customer, thermodynamics being what it is, losses being what they are. Let’s say 14kWh from the “potential” 34kWh in a gallon of petroleum. No EV I know of gets 7 miles per kWh – it’s more like 2 or 3 to maybe 3.5 if you’re really lucky. So about 40 to 45 mpg. The EPA’s simplistic and completely incorrect outlook assumes that the entire 34 kWh of potential energy all somehow gets to the vehicle, by a process not dissimilar from virgin birth. It’s a fantasy of fiction they call MPGe.

        The US produces about 65% of its electricity from thermal plants and the rest from renewables or nucular, so the equivalent EV mileage is about 70, at the very best.

        Furthermore, living next to say a hydro dam has nothing to do with the electricity you receive from the grid. That’s not how Alternating Current electricty works – there are no electrons flowing down a conductor, they merely vibrate back and forth. So generation inputs to the grid are not “directable” as in a Direct Current battery circuit. But who paid attention in school to that stuff, eh? So you can be lied to and be none the wiser.

        This sham MPGe is the biggest lie foisted on the population in decades. And it’s basic engineering, not rocket science. Technology rich people with zero understanding of basic physics run the show these days. I didn’t vote for them, nor to be lied to.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    @vupine

    You are very enthused about EVs, I hope you drive, or plan to drive one.

    I have nothing against EVs. I just don’t want to subsidize them, and I don’t feel we as a society can afford to do that.

    $2 billion is a lot of money that will accrue to relatively few people. IMO. So I say, no. Absolutely no.

    I would like cleaner air, for all of us. I would like less traffic. That’s elitist of and selfish of me, but there it is. I want less traffic when I am on the road. Less clutter. Better visibility (that might mean fewer trucks and SUVs)

    Toward that end, higher fuel prices would help, since more expensive motor fuel is quite likely to lead to less use: people will drive less, or they will drive carefully, or they will drive more fuel-efficient ICE, or they will drive electric cars.

    I’m not excited about the prospect of me paying more for fuel, of all of us paying more for fuel. Most people cannot print the extra money it will cost–they must borrow it, or go without something else.

    We pay less than any developed country on earth, so that makes paying more a little more palatable.

    However, short of higher fuel prices, people will continue to drive ICE until they are physically unable, or until they cannot afford it.

    As others have said (not here), suburbia has been a huge misallocation of resources–a commitment to a lifestyle that is not sustainable without cheap individual transportation. I don’t think technology will make this viable soon enough (absent cheap motor fuel). We need to try to gradually get off the suburban lifestyle before circumstances force this to happen abruptly and with great socioeconomic consequences. And suburban sprawl directly contributes to more of the air pollution that you and millions suffer from, and that is not good for any of us.

    Now, if the electricity for EVs comes from ‘clean’ electric generation, great. But if it comes from oil, or worse, coal? Or nuclear?

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      Meh. If the energy comes from coal, then the fastest, heaviest luxury sedan on earth (Tesla P100D) effectively has the impact of a Hyundai Accent. I’ll take that. If it comes from natgas, then the picture is better; if nuclear, better still; if renewable, best of all. We absolutely should make every effort to green the grid, and that’s the whole point of moving to EVs in the first place –to let us simultaneously decarbonize energy generation and transportation–but it’s nice to know that an EV is cleaner given pretty much any energy source.

  • avatar
    mcs

    @kendahl: “At their current level of development, pure BEVs are good only for local service. The best of them will let you get 150 miles from home. Long distance travel is impractical because of the time lost recharging”

    What are you talking about?? 150 miles?? A Model 3 LR is 322 miles and a Model S is 373 miles. That’s at least 5 hours of driving in a Model S. On a Model 3, a V3 Supercharger adds 75 miles in 5 minutes.

    Even a low range model 3 is going to go 3 hours. Recharge will be about 15 minutes at a V3 Supercharger. You don’t want to have to take a 15 minute break after 3 hours of driving? I just looked up a common route that I took back when I used to drive long distances. The first rest area I usually stopped at was 205 miles away from home and I’d stop for about 20 minutes. In that amount of time I’d have enough charge to keep going to my next stop. I just don’t see any difference for long distance driving between an ICE car and a Tesla based on my past history and V3 charging.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Michigan rep introduces bill to subidize biggest industry in Michigan. TTAC commenters hyperventilate and talk about “enviro-Nazis.”

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      To be fair, the climate hoax is the excuse for this subsidy just as it is the excuse for ending individual rights and taxing people into a new dark age for ‘the greater good.’ Meanwhile, Glacier National Park has had to remove its climate change propaganda signs, lest too many visitors be forced to accept that the watermelons are still lying like they have since 1968.

      https://townhall.com/tipsheet/leahbarkoukis/2020/01/10/park-has-to-replace-signs-warning-glaciers-would-be-gone-by-2020-n2559298

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @ToddAtlasF1: “Meanwhile, Glacier National Park has had to remove its climate change propaganda signs,”

        — Not remove; Change. When those signs were put up, the rate of dissolution suggested the glaciers’ complete disappearance by 2020. With the slowdown that occurred between ’98 and roughly 2013, their disappearance has been delayed, but not stopped. The current estimate is that GNP’s glaciers will be gone no later than the end of this century and possibly within the next thirty years… assuming nothing else changes.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          So they were wrong when they tried to predict what would happen within eight years, but you still take them seriously when the window expands to several decades? Got it.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @ToddAtlasF1: The ‘window’ was several decades in the first place. Sure, it has been extended, because the conditions changed for a short time.

  • avatar
    How_Embarrassing_4You

    Yes, let’s make more rules that hurt and force people do do things. Perfect!

  • avatar
    AnalogMan

    FWIW, a friend and neighbor recently bought a new EV with an advertised range of 250 miles. When fully charged, the dash typically shows available range of around 255-257 miles.

    However, here in New England in the winter, his experiences have been that the absolute maximum real-world range is about 150 miles (or less). Over the past couple of months, on multiple occasions by the time he’s driven around 110-120 miles, he has about 20-30 miles of range remaining. Granted he uses the heat, but when it’s in the 20’s-30’s (F) outside, it doesn’t seem like too much to ask of a car to allow the heater to be used.

    He’s also experienced great frustrations with charging stations. A few weeks ago he set out on a 300 mile round-trip drive. Not only did he not make the 150 mile one-way drive on a single charge, but because of multiple problems with charging stations – ones he went to were not working, only working at a lower setting, not accepting his credit cards or the ‘charge card’ provided by the dealer, were only available to overnight hotel guests, etc. – he had to stop at a total of 7 charging stations to make the trip.

    In short, a 300 mile round trip that should have been a total of a 7 hour day (including his business at the destination), in his EV ended up being a 21 hour day, with visits to 7 charging stations to find functional ones to charge on both legs of the trip. His experiences may be unique to this part of the country, but so far it has been far from practical for him to use the car for even a 150 mile one-way trip.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    @AnalogMan: I would remind you that there is no ONE answer; there can be NO one answer. What you suggest in changing electrical generation over solar, wind, hydro, geo, etc. are all good ideas and ones we (as in global society and American until recently) have been working on but we need to continue working on that as well. Fossil Fuel generation is dropping–I believe in the US it is almost down to 50% from once over 70% while coal in particular is near or below 25%. Other nations are also in various stages of eliminating coal use but in time even diesel and natural gas need to be reduced as well.

    BUT… all of that will have no effect on what cars put out through their internal combustion engines. I’ll grant that newer engines are notably better than those of the ’60s and even the ’80s but they’re still not ’emissions free.’ They still emit poisons inherent to burning hydrocarbons. In actual emissions, BEVs simply don’t, because they don’t directly burn any fuel. Indirectly, I admit our power grid is at some fault but A) a BEV’s effective fuel economy is approximately three times as efficient as the equivalent ICEV and vehicle size for vehicle size, even a coal-burning plant’s emissions are less than half that of the equivalent ICEV; the natural gas plant cuts that again by half.

    Of the 18 states that “use coal as their(sp) primary energy source,” please note that the coal plants are being shut down at a record rate and in many of those states, wind turbines are being added as well as the conversion of those old coal-fired plants to NG-gas turbines. Pennsylvania was one of the worst of the coal-fired states, especially considering how much coal mining still occurs in that state–but that state IS shutting down coal-fired plants and one in particular has even had half of its former coal-burning structure imploded with the rest due for later this year. Pennsylvania is also installing wind farms which are already proving effective in supplanting those lost coal-fired plants. I will also note that TMI–yes, the nuclear plant that had the partial meltdown–has been shut down and is in the process now of defueling and total closure.

    So while I agree that electric cars on their own are not the solution, they are part of the solution, just as switching energy generation to renewable methods is part of the solution. Whether a “political” solution is popular or not is really beside the point. We, as consumers and as electors of our politicians should make it emphatically clear that our lives are more important than some industry’s profits.

    • 0 avatar
      AnalogMan

      @Vulpine, you are absolutely correct that there is no ‘one’ answer to the transportation problem, or any other for that matter. But you might want to read some of the source materials in the links in my post, such as the paper in Scientific American, or the data from the US Energy Information Administration. I think there is a disconnect between the data and some of the things you mentioned.

      Of course it varies by geographic region and specific circumstance. If you charge a BEV exclusively from photovoltaic panels then it is truly a ‘no emissions’ vehicle. But there is no free lunch, and no free energy. If you plug a BEV in and charge it, the emissions are coming from whatever was used to generate the electricity that came out of the socket. It’s not ‘free’ (which would violate the laws of physics).

      If you put 85 kWh of energy into charging a BEVs battery, then 85 kWh of energy had to be consumed somewhere else to generate the electricity (plus losses in conversion from one form of energy to another, plus transmission line losses). The 85 kWh of electricity didn’t come out of the socket for ‘free’. In aggregate, EIA data show that currently the US generates 63% of electricity from fossil fuels (largely natural gas) and 20% from nuclear. So, removing local conditions (which of course vary widely, such as predominantly hydro power in Oregon) that means 85 kWh of battery charge had to come from 85 kWh of 83% fossil fuel or nuclear power, with the emissions and other environmental impacts that come with generating 85 kWh of electricity with fossil fuel or nuclear power. The energy in the battery is just converting the energy originally contained in fossil fuel or uranium into electricity.

      The laws of physics are very strict. Energy cannot be ‘created’. It can only be converted from one form into another. With the current US power grid, more electric cars are just going to be charged with the same 83% fossil fuel and nuclear power source, which means burning more natural gas or fissioning more uranium to generate the electricity.

      This is why how ‘clean’ a BEV is depends completely on how the electricity was generated (see the Scientifìc American article), and why they cannot truly be ‘clean’ until and unless the power used to charge them came from a ‘clean’ primary source (such as solar, wind, tidal, or geothermal). Otherwise, we’re just kidding ourselves.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @AnalogMan: I don’t believe I said anything about “free energy” but wind and solar simply don’t use any kind of fuel, so there are no fuel costs inherent in energy sourced from them… or from hydro, for that matter. Even geothermal doesn’t use any fuel, so the only costs associated with generating from them comes from the costs of installing and maintaining them, which are relatively inexpensive to the point that some installations are achieving an effective negative cost of production (especially in Texas.) This ultimately comes down to the fact that not only do BEVs get an equivalent fuel economy of something like 80 – 120 mpg but the energy cost per mile runs from ½ to ⅓ that of buying gasoline to cover the same distance.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        The Union of Concerned Scientists studies this every few years and issues updated maps. Check em out, they speak directly to your concerns.

  • avatar
    John

    I am poaitive the Good Congresswoman, knows just where the Materials for the batteries come from, and I am sure she is well aware of the necessity for increased elictrical output, by way of a reliable means of production. That output would necessitate that it be wither Coal, Natural Gas or Nuclear, something that her party is firmly against.

  • avatar
    Charliej

    Electric cars are undergoing a change. There is a new battery technology that is just now going into production. It is called lithium sulfur batteries. They will be available in a few months and have about four times the power density of lithium ion batteries. To make things even better, the chemistry used to make these batteries is cleaner and cheaper than the regular lithium ion batteries. This is going to help the prediction that electric cars will cost no more than ICE cars by 2022 come true. Battery cost is coming down and the range is going up by a factor of four. That makes a lot of the carping about electric cars out of date. By the way, costs for batteries will continue to come down and soon electric cars will be cheaper than ICE cars.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Unfortunately, while they’ve solved some of lithium sulfurs issues, they haven’t solved all of them. Here’s a good article on the subject:

      https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/01/will-lithium-sulfur-batteries-be-in-our-future/

      There is plently of good news in battery technology. We should see Teslas Maxwell technology soon, Kyocera/24M’s semi-solid, and Toyotas solid state battery. The Maxwell and Kyocera technology should be close to mass production. Kyocera says it will start in Fall of 2020. Toyota in a few years. The Kyocera technology cuts the manufacturing cost in half.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        If the manufacturing cost can be reduced by half at scale, it’s game over. That is enough to push TCO of a 150-200 mile electric car below TCO of a gas car.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          Here are the links:

          http://24-m.com/pressrelease/

          https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200106005517/en/Kyocera-24M-Develop-World%E2%80%99s-SemiSolid-Lithium-ion-Battery

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I doubt I will ever buy an EV unless battery technology makes a giant leap and the infrastructure becomes such where an EV can be charged anywhere. Not opposed to EVs but with limited range, long charging times, and more expensive than ICE I will not be in the market for an EV anytime soon. Things can change but I am in no big hurry to jump on the EV bandwagon.

  • avatar
    AnalogMan

    An electric motor is typically 85%-90% efficient in converting electricity to motion, whereas a gasoline engine may have a thermal efficiency of 30%-35%.

    But a much more important fact is the efficiency of converting fossil fuel – which provides 63% of the electricity in the US – into electricity. The reality is that only 32.8% of the energy contained in fossil fuels (DOE) is converted into electricity. That means 66.2% of the energy is wasted (as heat).

    The big flaw with the way MPGe numbers are currently calculated is that they assume 100% efficiency in converting fossil fuel to electricity, not the reality of 32.8%. This violates the laws of thermodynamics.

    Nuclear energy is about 30% efficient in converting the heat released by the fission of uranium into electricity. Nuclear power generates 19% of the electricity in the US and does not *directly* generate carbon emissions. However, mining and processing of uranium requires massive amounts of energy, impacts on water supplies, as well as the horrific problem of disposing of nuclear waste (spent fuel), so it might be best to not look to fission for more electric power in the future.

    https://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/es702249v

    Regardless of how electricity is generated, an additional 10%-15% is lost due to transmission line inefficiency (lost due to being converted to heat, since any non-superconducting line has resistance).

    This means that only 30.3% of the energy contained in fossil fuel is actually converted into electricity. So to put 85 kWh of electric charge into a BEV requires 269 kWh of fossil fuel or nuclear energy.

    This means that a Nissan Leaf that is advertised with ’99 MPGe’ in an apples-to-apples comparison is actually getting the equivalent of 28-36 real world MPG. Not bad, but certainly nowhere near what the flawed MPGe number suggests, and objectively not better than a modern ICE car.

    This has been analyzed and documented both in academic studies:

    https://dothemath.ucsd.edu/2011/08/mpg-for-electric-cars/

    https://ludens.cl/philo/electric.html

    And reported in the lay press:

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/warrenmeyer/2010/11/24/the-epas-electric-vehicle-mileage-fraud/#54dc4b4929de

    The economic arguments also suggest that the current policy of subsidizing EVs is not cost effective for society in general (though of course a millionaire Tesla buyer enjoys getting an unneeded discount on their purchase):

    https://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2018/05/15/are-electric-cars-worse-for-the-environment-000660

    Taking everything into consideration, BEVs are about as ‘clean’ for the environment as current ICE cars. A Nissan Leaf and a comparable pure ICE car both produce about 200 grams of CO2 per mile:

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/electric-cars-are-not-necessarily-clean/

    The calculation becomes less clear when taking into account the environmental impacts of lithium and rare Earth metal mining, battery disposal at end of life, etc.

    Of course the situation would be different IF electricity were predominantly generated from renewable sources (solar, wind, tidal, geothermal). But at present, only 11% of electricity in the US comes from renewable sources (hydro generates an additional 7% but has its own issues, including the environmental impacts of flooding regions when dams are built, questions about the future reliability of hydro power because of climate change, and the fact that it’s already fully developed in the US with little expansion ability).

    Thinking globally (which is a good thing to do, since we all live on the same small planet), China has a bigger impact on climate change than the US. Currently China gets 60% of its electricity from fossil fuel, mostly coal, which makes the BEV calculation there even less favorable. BEVs in China are really coal powered.

    So unfortunately, the bottom line is that with the CURRENT US electric energy grid, one would probably be better off simply burning fossil fuel directly rather than converting it into electricity to then power a BEV. It still comes back to having to change the US power grid and how electricity is generated. Until then, we’re just kidding ourselves with artificial and inaccurate ‘MPGe’ numbers that might make some people feel good, but don’t reflect reality.

    I’m fiercely left politically, and completely believe in climate change and fossil fuel combustion being a primary cause. But that doesn’t change the facts. The pesky thing about science is that it’s true whether you choose to believe it or not.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I don’t doubt what you are saying and I agree but that leaves the question of are EV’s any cleaner than ICE when you consider what it takes to make the batteries and to generate electricity. I am not saying I am against EVs but as you stated and until we develop and increase the use of renewable sources of energy and until we can develop longer range, smaller, and less expensive batteries EVs are something that are not on my radar for buying. I do believe that it will happen but that might be decades or years away.

  • avatar
    multicam

    If I lived on Oahu I’d love to own a BEV (circumnavigating the island is like a 90 mile drive or something; you’d never drive farther than your range). But living in paradise made me want to own a jeep and go doorless all the time, and since I knew I wouldn’t live there longer than three years, I bought a beater ‘94 jeep instead. Not long after I returned to the mainland, had to sell the old jeep and get a newer, more reliable one.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    If you are going to dig your hands deeper into my pocket, is it too much to ask for a han…ah never mind.

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