The Double-Batteried Electric Polecat

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The Electric Dementia continues to wax, the latest evidence of which is Volvo’s announcement about its Polestar performance car arm becoming its electrified performance  arm.

Hold up there, chief.

Weren’t electric cars supposed to be a better way to get around – that is, less expensive to own and drive, more convenient – rather than a faster way to get around?

And if speed is now the main EV draw, why is the government still subsidizing them? Isn’t it like subsidizing ribe-eye steaks and sushi for all? Which is a nice idea – if you’re the one getting the subsidized rib-eyes and sushi rather than the one getting the bill.

There is also an environmental affront here. High-performance cars, whether electric or IC, use more energy than cars designed to get from A to B as economically as possible. So why is the government subsidizing cars that are specifically not designed to get from A to B as economically as possible? Which use more energy, gratuitously – just for the fun of it –  and so, more resources and also (here it comes) emit more byproducts – C02, in the case of high-performance electric cars – than they neeeeeeeeeeeeeeed to?

It is almost certainly true that a Tesla S uses a lot more energy than a Hyundai Elantra – and produces more C02 in the aggregate (include the smokestack at the utility that makes the electricity which powers the 2.8 seconds to 60 Tesla).

Where is the EPA? And where are the American Yellow Vests?

But there is a deeper question to be asked – and answered.

Reading between the lines, it’s pretty clear that the reason EVs are being sold as performance (and luxury) cars is because they can’t compete with IC cars as economy cars or even sensible cars – which performance and luxury cars are generally not, by definition – because the goal of going fast (or going posh) necessarily conflicts with keeping cost down and efficiency up.

One does not buy a Corvette for its fuel economy – nor a Lexus to reduce one’s monthly payment.

Electrified luxury and performance cars are no different. Well, with one difference. The government does not mandate the manufacture of Corvettes – nor filch Peter’s pockets to reduce the cost to Paul of buying a new Lexus.

It’s interesting that the generally left media – which ululates over inequities – turn a blind eye (and Tele-Prompter) to this inequity. Average people cannot afford any EV currently available, even with government “help” (that is to say, without the government helping itself to someone else’s money, then passing along some of it to the EV “buyer”).

Barristas are being mulcted so that the  owner of the Starbucks can roll up to the curb in his new Tesla.

You’d think people would get mad about this.

They don’t – probably because they are unaware of this. The media – this includes the car press – has been derelict in its duty, serving instead as a cheerleader for EVs, much as the regular press cheerleads the never ending wars and the national security state – all for our own good, of course.

But, consider:

For an electric car to be competitive with any currently available IC-engined economy sedan, it would need to be able to continuously drive (in all weather, heat and cold) for at least 400 miles on a charge; be able to recharge in five minutes or less from commonly available sources and cost about the same as the currently available IC-engined economy car, or about $15,000.

Maybe $20,000 – to give the EV the benefit of the doubt as far as the cost of “fueling” it. Electricity does cost less than gas at the moment – but that’s because demand has not gone through the roof for it, motor fuels taxes haven’t been applied to it – and the infrastructure costs associated with it (this includes high-volt fast charging infrastructure) haven’t been factored in.

But the current cost of electricity is artificially low – and amounts to yet another  EV subsidy as well as a dirty trick, to gull people into believing that if they buy an EV, it will cost them less to drive.

It won’t.

Regardless, we still have the fact that no current EV can compete on economic grounds with an IC-engined economy car. To do so, the EV would have to cost the owner less to own and drive than the currently available $15k IC-engined economy car – and be as convenient/versatile, too.

No such EV exists or is even close to existing.

Which is why the car industry – every brand – has tacitly given up on the idea of building electric cars that make more sense than IC-engined cars.

Cost is no longer an object.

So Volvo will put two batteries in its Polestar2 electric performance car, due out in 2020. In order to get 400 horsepower to the wheels and from zero to 60 very quickly.

This is very speedy – but it will not cost $15k.

Per my article of the other day (here) we have Tesla to blame for this weird transmutation/inversion – and the government to thank for making us all pay for it.

. . .

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38 COMMENTS

  1. We may not be so far away from a time when some will be living in their luxury cars, and a Tesla will become more like an RV by virtue of its requisite need for an electric hookup.
    I’m personally looking forward to seeing people living in their Escalades. They might even come to envy my van, where I can actually stretch out and roll over.

  2. Gotta hand it to Elon Musk. He correctly estimated the number of morally superior and utterly stupid dolts out there who could be conned into paying 50K for an electric golf cart. And I thought that the supply of morons had been exhausted by Malcolm Bricklin and John DeLorean.

    Just goes to prove that there indeed is a sucker born every minute.

  3. “It is almost certainly true that a Tesla S uses a lot more energy than a Hyundai Elantra”

    No, no it isn’t, Eric. My Model S uses an average of 360 wh of energy per mile averaged over the last year of usage. A gallon of gas contains 33.3 kWh of energy. 33,330 / 360 = 92 miles to the gallon equivalent. An Elantra gets 40 mpg max.

    BTW, unlike gas engines, hard acceleration has very little effect on the efficiency of electric motors. They are over 90% efficient over their entire operating regime. Wind resistance is nearly all of the determinant of efficiency for electric cars. Energy loss per mile growing with the square of velocity.

    You can have reasonable opinions on subsidies to rich bastards, but you can’t make up “alternative facts”

    • You’re comparing apples to oranges, which most EV people seem to do. The real comparison is: How much energy was required all down the line to get that 360 Wh into your battery so you could drive a mile in your Tesla? What was the conversion efficiency of the generation facility? How much was dissipated as heat during transmission and distribution? During recharging? How much energy was expended heating or cooling the battery to keep it in the required temperature range? There is no one answer – it depends on the details of your electrical service – but it’s a LOT more than 360 Wh. Easily double that much. So in reality, your Tesla is getting maybe 45 mpg equivalent. That’s still pretty good, and it’s due mostly to the higher conversion efficiency of modern power plants vs. IC engines, but it’s not “Save the World” good, especially when you consider the resources that go into making 1200 pounds of lithium ion batteries.

      These are the true facts today. 20 years down the road, the facts might be very different. Or maybe pretty much the same. You really should have a thorough understanding of things before you play the “Alternative Facts! You Bad!” card.

      • If you want to go down that road, then lets go:

        Transmission line losses average around 5%
        Coal fired plants get around 40% conversion efficiency from the energy stored in the coal.
        Round-trip battery and charger efficiency has been tested around 80% for Teslas.
        Total is 0.95*0.4*0.8 = 30% So from coal to car, we would take 360 whpm/0.3 = 1200 wh/mile, or 27 MPG equivalent. This is the total mileage from raw coal to moving the car a mile down the road.

        Now for gas:
        Around 20% conversion efficiency for gas engines.
        It takes about 5 kwh of electricity in refineries to make a gallon of gas. 5/33 = 15% loss or .85 efficiency.
        So 0.2 * 0.85 = 0.17. So from oil tank to car we would take 40 MPG * 0.17 = 7 MPG equivalent. One gallon’s worth of energy from crude oil to moving your car one mile down the road.

        When pushed all the way back from the source like you wanted to do, the numbers are even more starkly in my favor, 27 MPG vs 7 MPG. Almost 4 times more energy efficient considering all energy inputs and losses vs only twice that I originally estimated.

        And this isn’t even considering that a lot of electricity comes from dams and nuclear. It also doesn’t consider the energy used to drill oil wells and transport. If you added that up it would likely be more like 5 to 6 times more efficient.

        But none of this matters to my point. All I was saying is that Eric’s statement that “The model S certainly takes more energy than an Elantra” is demonstrably false and not subject to opinion.

        • Which is why the world’s primary form of transportation is electric, and not IC powered, right? Oh wait, maybe you live in an alternate reality where what is perfect in theory is also how the actual work gets done. Sorry, my bad.

        • Honestly, the electricity infrastructure is already strained to its maximum supplying other needs besides transportation. The fact that IC transportation is functional outside of that loop is why thinks work as well as they have for the past 100 years. If it were not for the unbeatable versatility of diesel and gasoline power, we would have hit the wall in economic growth 50 years ago. In other words, there are some damn good reasons for not putting all your eggs in one basket. So one basket of eggs goes to waste while 3 others make it to the table, or would you rather the whole lot spoiled?

        • BTW, if external combustion is so much more energy efficient than internal combustion, why did the nation’s railroads dump the steam locomotive in favor of the diesel/electric? Or the entirety of ALL water transportation? Many reasons; manpower, weight damage to the rails, water supply, storage and distribution of coal, wear and tear caused by dirty coal, occupational and fire hazards caused by the same, cost of production, availability and cost of the expertise and training, the list is much longer than just “efficiency by the BTU”.
          The EV worshipers have tunnel vision, and the govt is all in favor of using blinders to their advantage, and this isn’t my “original theory”, not by a long shot.

          • Not sure what any of this has to do with Model S energy per mile vs. Elantra.

            Maybe you should post it at the top level instead of in response to me, since it doesn’t appear to have anything to do with my post.

              • If you mined ALL the Barium and Lithium in the world and used it exclusively for EV car batteries you wouldn’t be able to replace 1 in 4 vehicles on the road in the world. EV’s are a red herring. A dead end. An expensive lie. Taking us OUT of our freedom (& $$$) of individual travel is the end game of “big brother”. That is the only logical explanation for these ridiculous regulations.

        • Good grief. I can see that neither math nor logic is your strong point.

          You say that the conversion efficiency of gas engines is 20%. I think it’s actually a bit higher than that, but it doesn’t matter. The point is this: the Elantra is getting its 40 mpg from the 20% (or whatever) of the gasoline energy that it is converting into useful mechanical energy. You burn a gallon of gas, you go 40 miles. If you had 100% efficiency, you would have gone 200 miles. So 200 miles x 20% efficiency = 40 miles. It makes no sense whatsoever to multiply 40 mpg by 20%. 40 mpg is what you have AFTER you apply the 20% efficiency.

          • You are right, I did that part wrong.

            engines are around 30%, but after transmission losses, etc it is more like 20%

            Really, the most important take is that chemical energy conversion is more efficient at power plants than in cars. And even then, nuclear and dam power are even more efficient.

            The only point to all of this is that the Model S doesn’t take any more energy per mile than an Elantra. Which is all I was saying in the first place.

            • I agree with your main point: all in, the Model S and the Elantra are similarly comsumptive. I also concede that the overall fuel economy of the Model S is somewhat better that that of an IC sport sedan having the Tesla’s dynamic performance. But not vastly better. Given that, my point (and Eric’s too, I think) is: why stuff them down our throat? There is definitely a place for ecars, but the fervor with which they are being forced upon us is causing a lot of resentment and a lot of theorizing about the real reasons for that force feeding.

  4. Regarding road use taxes, it just kind of clicked for me. We all know that .gov will have to tax us in other ways to pay for “roads”, after they force us to EVs.

    I have seen several cost comparisons between gas and electric. Electric always won on fuel costs, which seemed plausible. Not nearly enough to provide a return on the investment, of course.

    Now I want to see the fuel cost comparison removing all of the road taxes from the gasoline. A more fair fight.

  5. Try towing a boat (or anything) on a trailer behind an electric car and see how far you can go before the batteries die. Are trailer hitches even available for electric cars? A guy I used to know had an Elcar. It had about 8 horsepower and a top speed of about 35 MPH – with the batteries fully charged. The lead acid batteries outweighed the rest of the car. The large solar panel on the roof didn’t help much. The car had a range of well under 40 miles. The owner sometimes used to stop at gas stations and plug into the duplex outlet behind the coke machine in order to get home.

  6. All animals are equal… But some are more equal than others.

    The msm, the corporatists/international bankers, and the politicians are the pigs on this Animal Farm.

  7. Like slaves, Americans beg for their chains.

    The elites tell Americans that they don’t need freedom and Americans nod their heads and agree that they don’t need freedom.

    The 1% says that if vaping is not banned, Americans will get cancer.

    The elites say that if flag-burning is not banned, Americans will have freedom.

    The elites say that churches must be closed because of terrorism.

    The elites say that protesting must be banned because protesters will break windows.

    The ruling class says that newspapers must be closed because only the government can tell you the truth.

    The elites say there must be subsidies or every company will go bankrupt.

    The elites say that Americans must be forced to buy insurance or they will not get healthcare.

    The 1% says that Americans must get food stamps or everyone will starve to death.

    The ruling class say that everyone must be wiretapped, tortured, and groped or there will be terrorism.

    The elites say that if withdrawing cash from your own bank account is not banned, Americans will buy drugs.

    The elites say that if restaurants are not licensed, businesses would have a vested interest in selling poisoned food.

    The elites say that if guns are not banned, Americans will be shot.

    The elites say that if everyone does not give DNA samples to the government then little girls will be raped.

    The elites say that if hammers are not banned, Americans will have their heads smashed in with hammers.

    Americans are so enslaved now that patriots who warn about the dangers of tyranny will be slammed for criticizing the beloved overlords of Americans.

    Every country has the government it deserves.

  8. The same a**holes who are telling us that we have to live in a world that is cold, dark and distant are living it up in Davos this week. The Union of Concerned Scientists held their annual press conference to unveil their “doomsday clock” today, and it is still at 23:58, just like last year. Does everyone feel the sward of Damocles hanging over their heads?

    Is your employer rolling out a comprehensive telework program? Are we fast tracking plans for hundreds of new nuclear power plants? Is the Federal Reserve submitting recommendations to Congress for how to unwind the dollar from the oil trade? Is the FAA working to phase out personal aircraft? Commercial aircraft? Is the military developing tanks that get better than 8 gallons per mile fuel economy?

    • I couldn’t have said it any better, ReadyKilowatt.

      The only thing that Uncle Scam and his compadres in places like France seem to want to do about climate change is raise taxes, increase regulations, foist technology on us that, unlike most other technology, is more expensive and less capable, and in general diminish our standard of life…not anything that will actually reduce CO2 emissions, like the measures you mention.

      Even an ostensibly pro-energy and pro-nuclear president like Donald Trump, and fellow Republicans, have shown little or no public support of building more and better nuclear power plants. Part of that is because natural gas is now so cheap and plentiful, and people are not as afraid of it as nuclear power, but we’re going to need a lot more electricity, even without electric cars, and nuclear energy is the only energy source capable of meeting that demand without causing not only increased CO2 emissions, but pollution in general that does make people sick.

      Yet, no one, not even hardline conservatives, is even discussing this.

      • I’ve often wondered why the industry abandoned CNG and propane vehicles in favor of electric vehicles right about the time CNG became abundantly available … Hmmm, curious!

      • Who do you think funds their massive campaign war chests? What might happen to the stock market if the oil companies suddenly started losing market share? The gas wells near me are all producing natural gas that is owned by Exxon/Mobil. They don’t actually have rigs out here, they leave that to the wildcatters who take all the risk. They just get a monthly check based on production.

    • You know that the pretense for mandating electric vehicles is a farce, until Uncle runs the armed forces without Internal combustion engines. Another example of a double standard of rules. One set of rules for the little dirt people and a completely different set of rules for our masters.

      • Hi Hank,

        You make an excellent point in re the government (military) not going electric. I’ve made a similar observation with regard to “climate change.” What is the C02 output of a single F/A-18 training flight over my house (they do this often).. I m betting it is more than the entirety of what my Trans Am has “emitted” over the past almost 50 years…

        • Gotta hand it to Elon Musk. He correctly estimated the number of morally superior and utterly stupid dolts out there who could be conned into paying 50K for an electric golf cart. And I thought that the supply of morons had been exhausted by Malcolm Bricklin and John DeLorean.

          Just goes to prove that there indeed is a sucker born every minute.

          • Hi Alsatian,

            The tragedy of Tesla is that it warped the purpose of the EV – which was to have been to make driving easier and more affordable. Instead, because of all the money thrown at Telsa, the ideal EV is one that gets to 60 in 3 seconds, has every gadget imaginable… and costs $60,000.

            • Much as I dislike Henry Ford, he would have likely had Elon Musk beaten to an inch of his worthless life 100 years ago, and no one would have cared, except to maybe throw in a few of their own punches as well. Only in today’s twisted society can a pussy-con-man like Musk be hailed as a hero and visionary.

  9. I would not say the cost of electricity is artificially low. It isn’t. The cost of electricity not including the taxes that are used for the roads (and other things) compared to gasoline is artificially low. I realize I haven’t done the equation lately but historically the fuel cost savings of an electric car vaporize when road taxation is applied. The electric car owner does save money on the operation but that just will force higher fuel taxes on gasoline and diesel or a tracking grid for a per mile tax. Either way government wins.

  10. Why would anyone need or even want a high performance electric car just to sit in traffic jams most of the time?

    For sure, the EV owners aren’t taking a long road trip – first, because the car won’t do it, and second, the self righteous leftist EV fanatics couldn’t be bothered with seeing the USA flyover country.

    • A normal person with a normal budget wouldn’t, which is why the average person isn’t buying electric cars, and I think that’s one of the reasons they’re shooting more upmarket. Electric cars are currently a luxury item for the wealthy, and they love it! Their car is super quiet, here in CA, they’re allowed to use the HOV lane without a passenger, and they feel like they’re saving the planet. Most people who buy cars are not car people, and the rich ones who buy teslas have the money for a second car that’s good for long trips.

    • Here’s an interesting article:
      https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/23/this-is-the-electric-porsche-sports-car-people-are-lining-up-for.html

      Porsche announced their own electric car, the Taycan and planned on making 20,000. There’s so much demand, they’re upping that to 40,000. These things start at $80,000 and this being Porsche, where steering wheels are additional cost options, we’re probably in the vicinity of $100,000 for each of these. So, 40,000 people are willing to spend $100,000 on an electric car. That’s $4 billion dollars for Porsche.

      The spread between the “haves” and the “have nots” is getting larger in this country. Where I live in silicon valley, I’m surrounded by expensive cars – more Teslas, Mercedes and BMW SUV’s than Honda Civics or Ford F150’s. These people advocate for mandatory electrification, 100% green energy, without even comprehending the plight of someone living with less money.

      • No it is not only about money, they are not able to comprehend the elementary simply rules/laws of the physics, thermodynamic and transformation( matter-energy) in the Nature, just because they are the high IQ idiots , absolutely illiterates toward the laws of Nature/Universe, creating an absurd fully insanity lunacy virtual world where the reality doesn’t exist and it is replaced with fancy abomination of their newly created world which practically doesn’t exists , but they keep alive their hallucination ( virtual reality ) consuming for NOTHING at all more than 22% of all energy produced in the world .

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