All-electric cars: The "shocking" truth
Given the rapid pace of technology, the time will come when there is a practical, environmentally-friendly, and economically-viable alternative to fossil-fuel energy. Meanwhile, we must deal with the world the way it is now. (Fair disclosure: Twice each year, this writer receives an Oklahoma oil-lease royalty check of less than $30.00.)
Now then, who are the people who buy hybrid-electric cars – the cars running about half the time on fossil fuel and the rest of the time on batteries? Who are the people who will leap from driving hybrids to the new all-electric cars – the cars running solely on batteries that must be charged and then re-charged at special charging stations?
Consumer research of Toyota Prius owners found that “green” car buyers have the money to buy pricier, more-prestigious luxury cars; however, they chose their Prius over a luxury car precisely to show the world that “green” issues are important to them.
Car manufacturers such as Nissan and Chevrolet, along with autoweek.com have found that, in general, the people who buy “green” cars don’t like: coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear power, and the hydro-electric dams that frustrate the migration and reproduction of certain species of fish. Instead, they celebrate alternative energy sources such as: solar and wind.
Nissan wants to produce the all-electric Nissan Leaf at a plant in Smyrna, Tennessee. The Leaf retails for $32,780. According to autoweek.com, Leaf dealers will have to install three charging stations: one in their service area, one in the parking lot where the cars made ready for delivery and a third charger where owners can just stop by for easy charger access. The between-charge range of a Nissan Leaf is 100 miles or 62.5 kilometers. Chevrolet, which is part of GM (Government Motors), is coming out with an all-electric car called the Volt. The Volt costs $41,000.
As the prideful owners of these all-electric cars pull their charging cables over to the charging station to show the world how much they care about the environment, they are going to be in for a “shock.” According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the electricity they obtain at the charging station is going to come 45.5% from coal, 24.2% from natural gas, 1.0% from oil, 19.3% from nuclear power, 6.43% from hydro-electric dams, and only 3.57% from alternative energy sources such as: wind, solar, wood, biomass and geo-thermal.
USA Today says the Obama Administration’s goal is to put one million plug-in, all-electric cars on the road by 2015. Nissan hopes to produce 150,000 Leafs per year. Government Motors (GM) hopes to produce 45,000 Volts per year.
The Washington Post, citing a study from the University of Indiana, says the auto industry won’t produce 1,000,000 electric cars within four years because the high cost and limited range of the electrics make them a hard sell. Moreover, cold weather is very hard on all-electric cars, cutting battery duration approximately in half. Of course, for those who still believe in global warming, that might not be a problem.
Because there is no actual, real-world market for all-electric cars, the Obama Administration has arranged for those who could have bought a luxury, fossil-fuel burner to have a $7,500 tax credit. That means the general taxpayer is subsidizing the buyers of “green” cars so they can plug their all-electric cars into chargers that get 96.4% of their energy from: coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear power, and hydro-electric dams.
Gadzooks! What if the buyers of all-electric cars discover that they are promoting the fossil fuel industry, encouraging the use of nuclear energy, and helping to kill entire species of fish who can’t figure out how to leap upstream over those dreaded hydro-electric dams? If they come face-to-face with these figures from the U.S. Department of Energy, will they still feel good about themselves?
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
©2011. William Hamilton.