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Discussion Starter #1
Mildly interesting article in the FT about "Electric cars’ green image blackens beneath the bonnet"

It is behind a paywall so I can't link it but its basically arguing that a small cheap ICE car does less "lifecycle" damage than a Tesla Model S, this calculation pretty much entirely hinges on two things :
  • the much higher production emissions of the Tesla vs the chosen comparator, a Mitsubishi Mirage (12204 kg Co2 vs 4752 kg Co2)
  • an assumed HC portion of electricity generated
Looking at some of the source data at Carboncounter | Cars evaluated against climate targets it doesn't seem to marry up very well, leading me to think its a bit of a biased view (er, very actually).

It also quotes Peter Mock, EU MD of the International Centre for Clean Transport, on how Tesla have driven manufacturers to build cars with batteries which are "too big" and that "bigger batteries could damage the green credentials of electric vehicles.... ....procuring metals such as cobalt, 60 per cent of which comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo".

Peter obviously lives nice and close to his office and doesn't drive far ;)

I'll leave the politicians to fight it out, we bought our MS because it is an awesome car - in 15 years when everyone's stopped fighting I'll probably know whether it was environmentally friendly or not.

If any of you subscribe to the FT its worth a look

Phrrrp,

J
 

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Cobalt from DRC was around the 35 to 45% in early 2000's. The Dodd-Frank act, response after the 2008 crash, incorporated the conflict minerals act and has a 'proof of origin' principle.

Both cobalt and tantalum generally now [should] have a strong chain of authentication that it is not DRC sourced, there are other sources in more robust administrative areas, like Canada. But reduced supply has meant increase in prices have more than trebled over the last decade.

I don't particularly like cobalt in batteries, it is toxic and makes recycling problematic, it has become a recent trend towards nickel rich NMC type. I am not sure what the cobalt really achieves in the long run and it is correct that it still drives conflict minerals. I got interested in conflict minerals back in 2000 when I saw an article in the New Scientist about it and pushed for change in my own company, before the D-F act. We did actually start to get some statements of sources from the suppliers, who also bought into the moral concern, so, hey, who knows, maybe I started all that off.... ;)

In general, the complication of getting stuff and the amount of energy you burn making the thing from that stuff all adds to the price. What else adds to it? RoI is generally a similar expectation amongst businesses (else the investment money would drift out of the low RoI and all into the high RoI), so basically the price you pay is the sum total of all the problems and energy. More expensive = more energy = more effort.

If Lifetime cost car A < Lifetime cost car S, then A is less impacting than S. Stands to reason.
 

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The article finishes with a more positive note:
"A Volkswagen lifecycle report found that its e-Golf hatchback would reduce emissions by 26 per cent, versus a standard Golf, when powered by EU electricity. If it uses renewable energy, it would emit just 9.7 tonnes of carbon over its lifecycle, a reduction of 61 per cent. Daimler found that its Mercedes B-Class electric vehicle, a bigger car, cuts emissions by 24 per cent versus a B-Class petrol-engine car, on EU electricity. With renewable energy it cuts emissions by 64 per cent to a total of 11 tonnes."
 

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The article finishes with a more positive note:
"A Volkswagen lifecycle report found that its e-Golf hatchback would reduce emissions by 26 per cent, versus a standard Golf, when powered by EU electricity. If it uses renewable energy, it would emit just 9.7 tonnes of carbon over its lifecycle, a reduction of 61 per cent. Daimler found that its Mercedes B-Class electric vehicle, a bigger car, cuts emissions by 24 per cent versus a B-Class petrol-engine car, on EU electricity. With renewable energy it cuts emissions by 64 per cent to a total of 11 tonnes."
Seems reasonable numbers to me.

There is a real question over longevity though, in both directions. There is no reason to presume EVs have the same length of life as ICE. So is it more or less?
 

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Behind a paywall, so haven't seen the FT version, but the Auto Express version of the story suggested it was an MIT study comparing a Model S to a small "compact" ICE using grid electricity in the Midwest US, with a substantial coal generating proportion. They also looked at a BMW 750, which had much higher lifetime emissions than the Tesla (no surprise there).

I don't know what the motivation behind the story was - maybe just to point out that because it's an EV doesn't mean it's all rainbows and unicorns? But FT, AE, etc have undoubtedly put the worst possible spin on the results of the study.
 

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The longer the life of an EV, the greater the difference in CO2 emissions compared with an ICE. The problem is that greater longevity is not in the interests of car manufacturers. I wonder whether it will be software obsolescence that consigns vehicles to the scrapheap. ICE cars can run for several decades if looked after. Will manufacturers still be supporting EV software systems for that period of time?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Main assumption of the study is that both the Tesla Model S and the Mitsubishi Mirage will have a life of 270,000 km (170k miles)

I know which I would get in if I was going to drive 170k miles and it would not be the car with a 1.2 litre 3 cylinder engine.

My guess is that the average Tesla will massively out-mile the average Mitsubishi Mirage. :p

J
 

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I would have though a comparison to a roughly equal "status" vehicle, maybe a Jaguar XJsomething or whatever, but a Mirage? Sigh.
 

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Sounds like a stupid study based on guff to me. You know they're getting desperate when the lifecycle of a $100k car is compared to some run of the mill shopping cart at the bottom of the scale.

I'd expect better from MIT.
 

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Sounds like a stupid study based on guff to me. You know they're getting desperate when the lifecycle of a $100k car is compared to some run of the mill shopping cart at the bottom of the scale.

I'd expect better from MIT.
To be fair, I don't think they have done as you have suggested and compared two cars on the basis of cost, driving comforts, practicalities, luxuries or otherwise. It is purely a comparison of the environmental credentials of cars, and TBH I think it is a fair study in that respect. They have identified that there is some point between EV-city car, and EV-luxo-barge where the environmental argument vis-à-vis an average petrol ICE gets a bit hazy, and in that respect I would agree with that conclusion.
 

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I suspect I drive the least environmental Model S. :oops: Mine's done < 21k miles since July '14. :eek:

Given my mileage, even an imported Dodge Hellcat might still be greener using life-cycle analysis :ROFLMAO:
 

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Mildly interesting article in the FT about "Electric cars’ green image blackens beneath the bonnet"

It is behind a paywall so I can't link it but its basically arguing that a small cheap ICE car does less "lifecycle" damage than a Tesla Model S, this calculation pretty much entirely hinges on two things :
  • the much higher production emissions of the Tesla vs the chosen comparator, a Mitsubishi Mirage (12204 kg Co2 vs 4752 kg Co2)
  • an assumed HC portion of electricity generated
Looking at some of the source data at Carboncounter | Cars evaluated against climate targets it doesn't seem to marry up very well, leading me to think its a bit of a biased view (er, very actually).

It also quotes Peter Mock, EU MD of the International Centre for Clean Transport, on how Tesla have driven manufacturers to build cars with batteries which are "too big" and that "bigger batteries could damage the green credentials of electric vehicles.... ....procuring metals such as cobalt, 60 per cent of which comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo".

Peter obviously lives nice and close to his office and doesn't drive far ;)

I'll leave the politicians to fight it out, we bought our MS because it is an awesome car - in 15 years when everyone's stopped fighting I'll probably know whether it was environmentally friendly or not.

If any of you subscribe to the FT its worth a look

Phrrrp,

J
Did the article take into account second life use of the Lithium-ion battery after it comes out of the car?
 

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The weird thing about the article is that the study it links to, from which this all supposedly originates, appears to be about a completely different topic (it's about modelling aggregate driver behaviour based on a small sample of real data).
 

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[QUOTE="I don't know what the motivation behind the story was - maybe just to point out that because it's an EV doesn't mean it's all rainbows and unicorns? But FT, AE, etc have undoubtedly put the worst possible spin on the results of the study.[/QUOTE]

I did a lot of press and radio interviews in my past life, and quickly learned that editors usually want a simple "A is better than B" or "B is better than A" story, with no room for "A is best with regard to x but B is better with regard to y".

I do have some sympathy for journalists who have to develop a storyline, then force the "facts" to fit, just to get their article into print. Up to a point, anyway.
 

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@BobM We are years out for the i3 batteries to come back out of the vehicle fleet en masse too.

It's nice to see BMW are at least investing in this area in advance. Tesla have obviously got bigger problems on their plate right now, so it's not surprising they aren't focusing too much attention on it.

My WAG is Tesla probably should aim to get something in play by 2022 for second life, so they do have time to address it.

This is predicated on a big unknown as to how much out of battery warranty Model S's be worth, and quite what could go wrong to put it beyond economical repair. 10 years feels right as to when we start seeing a crossover point between a cars value and big repair bills (Especially if the only way to get it fixed is at main dealer rates with new parts.)
 
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