Reader Question: EV Energy Hogs?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Bob asks: Have you discussed the amount of energy required to power an EV vs the equivalent sized (but not weight) IC vehicle.  Since EVs require heavy batteries, the car becomes heavier. The heavier the car the more energy it requires to move it. Not being a physics guy I am not sure how one compares electric power to IC power, but someone does; perhaps you do. Wouldn’t it be interesting to make the comparison. And you are correct with your column today, you never can own your house. Just try not paying your taxes. Keep up the good work!

My reply: EVs could be a great deal more efficient – if it weren’t for the mandates and subsidies, which have incentivized the manufacture of high-performance EVs (e.g., Teslas) and EVs designed to try to do what they are not good at doing (e.g., long-distance highway driving).

Both of these stupidities (stupid on the assumption the object of this exercise is efficiency and not virtue signaling) result in much larger/heavier battery packs that consume more energy and so result in the “emission” of more C02, just not at the tailpipe.

If the mandates and subsidies did not exist, the incentive would have been to design EVs for the role they are naturally suited to – short-distance/low speed commuting in and around cities – given the state of technology. An EV that didn’t have to try to be capable of being driven on the highway at 70-plus more several hours straight – or get to 60 in 5 seconds or less – would need a battery pack half the size and weight of a Tesla 3’s. It would use considerably less energy and it would “emit” considerably lower “emissions.” It would also cost a great deal less – as a moped or scooter costs less than a motorcycle.

But the object of the exercise is virtue signaling. And that’s why we have stupid – and inefficient – EVs.

PS: In re the property tax. These are not “our” taxes. It’s important to avoid letting them set the terms of the debate. They are stealing our money and violating us more fundamentally by making it impossible to ever own our own got-damned homes. No matter how long ago we paid for them.

Bastards. Never give them the sanction of the victim!

. . .

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  1. In spite of their weight, once you have charged the battery. The energy conversion to motive power in an EV is about 90% (Tesla’s are a bit higher) efficient. In an ICE vehicle it’s more like 25 to 30% where 70-75% of the energy is lost to heat. Spark ignition engines are a bit less efficient than compression igntion (Diesel) engines.
    Bottom line is that even with a little extra weight it is still more energy efficient. From an energy standpoint The Tesla model 3 gets the equivalent of 120+ miles per gallon. The dollar cost depends on how much you pay for electricity but that ranges from $4 to $10 per gallon equivalent.

    • “once you have charged the battery”

      Forget the 20-50% losses in the generation, transmission and conversion? OK.

      If we are only going to discuss a single aspect of a car, ignoring all other metrics, the cabin heaters in petroleum cars are 100,000% more efficient than electric car cabin heaters.

  2. Cylinder deactivation for some infinitesimal amount of fuel reduction and then add a few hundred pounds of batteries so it’s a “hybrid”.


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