Coal Power & Electric Vehicles
This question pops up frequently about EVs – aren’t we just going from one fossil fuel (oil) to another (coal). Well it’s not that simple and let me emphasise that the best course for the introduction of the electrified fleet is to make it mandatory that EVs are fuelled by clean energy. I can’t see that sort of legislation anytime soon but companies such as Better Place will utilize clean energy for all their EV battery packs. When people argue about the high pollution surrounding coal fired power stations they have a valid point – burning coal is extremely polluting and the sooner we quit the better.
However there are as far as I know no developed countries with 100% energy derived from coal. In the US for example coal represents less than 50% of the energy mix. In China it is 80% plus. Australia has a high reliance on coal for electricity at around 75%. In the OECD the consumption of coal has declined by a third from 1971 – 2008 with the emphasis being placed on nuclear, gas and renewables. The trend will continue globally with coal being phased out for cleaner fuels. (click here for reference)
So to argue the point that EVs are no cleaner than petrol/diesel powered vehicles because they are run on coal is simply not considering the reality of the energy mix. A recent study of EVs in China has some interesting findings disputing how clean EVs are when run on predominantly coal fired power.
China’s Coal-Power May Make Electric Vehicles More Polluting …
China’s Coal-Power May Make Electric Vehicles More Polluting. Post a Comment. Celsias. Electric cars have been heralded as environmentally friendly, but findings from University of Tennessee, Knoxville, researchers show …
The China experience however will not be replicated in the other emerging markets for EVs – predominantly Europe and the US. It is a very different story in those places as the following illustrates.
Coal Powered Electric Cars – Fact and Fiction
In the past three years of writing about electric cars, I have yet to meet an electric car driver or fleet manager who only uses coal power. If you own an electric car and only use coal power, please leave a comment at the end of …
We can clean up our electricity supply over time with an increase in cleaner fuels and renewables. We will never be able to clean up combusting oil. Despite greater engine efficiencies for ICE powered vehicles the bottom line is the exhaust is toxic – plain and simple. Henry Ford’s wife Clara had it right all those years ago (she drove an electric car) – to paraphrase her, “those things are too noisy and too smelly”
As some of you may know I drive an EV and have done so now for over 3 years. I am not suffering from range anxiety by the way (see my previous post). I subscribe to Green Energy from my local supplier (Western Power) and it costs me an additional $3 per week approximately (less than a cup of coffee). With the savings I already enjoy from greatly reduced running costs (saving about $2,000 per annum) subscribing to Green Energy is not a financial headache and means my car is virtually emission free.
Coming back to legislating mandatory clean energy for EVs – would it really be such a cost burden on anyone?