42 Comments

I’ve read recently that the cost of removing CO2 from the air is about $600 per ton and that this cost is projected to go down significantly, perhaps to $100 per ton. So I asked myself what is the trade between an EV and an ICE with equally clean air. At 7,000 miles per year as assumed in this article I think an ICE produces about 3 tons of CO2 per year. An EV produces about 5 tons more CO2 to manufacture than an ICE and costs more, say $20,000 for arguments sake. If I’ve got this right then the break-even cost for equally clean air takes about 12 or 13 years at current CO2 clean up costs.

Acquiring and improving clean up technologies could help with other sources of CO2 such as a rocket launch which produces as much CO2 as 395 transatlantic flights.

Expand full comment

Saw YouTube video of cold performance and how much Tesla trip planner really alleviates this concern. I have a 2014 PHEV with tiny battery and lack of triplanner is noticeable as it is too much mental effort to try and keep battery charged when running errands (current 10 mile range with over 100,000 miles on the car) It is amazing to me that some cities charging infrastructure is getting so good and range is so good even someone who has an apartment could realistically have an EV without much inconvenience.

Expand full comment

Great article. I imagine that range *anxiety* is inversely correlated with (super fast) charger availability.

Many gas cars don't have great ranges, but no one is anxious because gas stations are plentiful.

The market will eventually figure out the balance between long-range vehicles and charging networks. I'd expect average sold ranges to increase at first given scarce available charging (true today for all non-Teslas in the USA), but to level off, or modestly decline as charging becomes abundant. All depends on the cost of EV batteries vs building out available widely compatible charging networks.

It's important to remember that most car trips in the USA are <3 miles, but people still purchase for the extremes.

Expand full comment

Being in an apartment I’d feel most comfortable with Lucid-level range. Will be interesting to see if/when that becomes affordable. Hope you don’t mind me sharing this recent piece. I thought it made some cogent and neglected points on EV range and charging…

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/02/electric-vehicle-tesla-ford-f-150-expensive-cars/673024/

Expand full comment

Here in Australia a good quality petrol car, like a Hyundai Kona with most of the extras, cost A$27,000 brand new. This was 2021 I think. I looked for prices on electric cars and couldn’t find anything below A$50,000.

Expand full comment

Good work!

Expand full comment

In the commentary and article I see all kinds of numbers thrown around: 99% recycling on batteries, hundreds of thousands of miles on EV batteries prior to exchange (outlasting the chassis?), average range 220 miles for EV, price of "refueling" for EV meeting and then beating gasoline, CO2 being a relatively small part of the problem of emissions, mining of battery elements a small part of global mining...

It would seem the argument here is that EVs are good things, and that ICE is on its way out. This presupposes the fast charging infrastructure being built as well as the transmission network to support it, on the road and at home.

I see rules in California banning ICE sales by 2035, and the EV lobby saying the USA will be there by 2050. Less than 1% of the 250 million cars on the road now are EV. 46% of those polled say they won't consider EV when buying, and 36% say they will. Government subsidizes $7500 to $120000 of the purchase price (???), but those EVs are still $10,000 more to buy than ICE.

And the whole reason behind all this... CO2 in the air? That is what bugs me... we have a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. CO2 concentration does not contribute to global warming or climate change, and there is the rub.

Expand full comment

Very nice piece. Setting aside comical situations like this F-150 "Lightning" (first video shows the pickup sitting on side of road being charged by a gas-powered portable generator in the bed of truck;

second a car enthusiast testing one for towing range) we have grave concerns about where this is all going from an environmental standpoint.

https://twitter.com/RileyMooreWV/status/1626956027160629248?s=20

https://www.motortrend.com/reviews/ford-f150-lightning-electric-truck-towing-test/

Our concerns relate to the mining aspect of EVs. Whether that's cobalt in DRCongo or aluminum in Brazil or any of the other necessary multitude of metals that will be required. Since most of those will be mined in developing countries, our applied industry experience has shown us how risks to human health and the environment are managed in the mining industry overseas (vs. the West). https://twitter.com/climate/status/1630243309707997185?s=20

We have also written on the sheer magnitude of metals that would be required to convert all present fossil fuel-based energy to wind, solar, biomass (and nuclear, realistically). https://envmental.substack.com/p/sustainabilchemy

We applaud EV deployment strategically. We know many people for whom they are a perfect fit (distance, lifestyle, etc.). But we're realistic about the resource and environmental implications related to mining. It was not lost on us either when Argonne Nat'l Labs found that all EV miles driven on US roads in 2021 displaced only 700 million gallons of gas, equal to about 1.8 days of US gas consumption or 0.50% of US gas consumption that year.

Can we realistically displace maybe 20-30% of the US vehicle fleet in a reasonable GHG/resource-related environmental tradeoff? Probably. But let's make sure and show the tradeoffs. What Siddharth Kara and others are showing can't be swept under the rug in all this.

Keep up the good work, Hannah.

Expand full comment

Depends on where you live I guess.

Government rebates, plus fuel & maintenance savings come into play when looking at costs. In Canada combined provincial & federal rebates can save you up to $13k CDN. Then I save $3k a year on fuel, or $21k over 7 years.

Tesla is expected to give some idea this Wednesday on where they are going with a lower cost vehicle. They kicked off the year with price cuts up to 20%, starting a bit of a price war.

US EV battery subsidies of 30-40% will have a big impact next year, on cars made there. Lower cost EVs will likely destroy the resale value of ICE vehicles, over the next 3-5 years.

It’s mostly the Japanese car companies that have fallen behind and cannot yet produce a competitive EV.

Here faster charging, & lots of chargers has also helped end range anxiety.

Expand full comment

What taxing method would replace the lost gasoline taxes attributed to EVs? How much more electricity is needed to recharge EVs, the generation of witch would produce more emissions?

I haven't seen any articles addressing these problems attributed to an EV changeover.

Expand full comment

What taxing method would replace all of the lost gasoline taxes from EV's to support road infrastructure? How much more electricity needs to be generated to charge the EVs, witch would produce more emissions? I haven't seen any articles that address these problems created by EVs.

Joe Mielnicki

Expand full comment

Yes, it is so much better now. I got one of the first Leafs. By the time I traded it for a Volt 5 years later it was no good for maybe 60 miles range. Before it got that bad I tried a 100 mile each way trip a couple of times. Mistake. The only mid-way fast charging station at the time was too far away to finish the return trip. It ended up taking hours longer than it dues to a couple of extra stops at slow charging stations. My 2020 Bolt is much better, though it's range is limited until the battery gets replaced.

Expand full comment

We're all going EV,whether anyone likes it or not.Otherwise,you'll be driving your old ICE car.I'm looking forward to buying,when my current ICE car needs replacement.Should be more choices and better EV's in the future.Looking forward to riding my bike in a cleaner air environment.

Expand full comment

Is there any data on the correlation between public transit development and EV usage? Perhaps looking at the number of EV charging stations & metro stations within a urban centers in different cities?

I'm all for EV adoption, but I hope to have it evolves a sort of synergism to transit (as opposed to the antagonistic alternative gas-powered cars currently present to transit).

Expand full comment