Thursday, November 25, 2010

All the Leaves are Brown and the Sky is Grey, the EPA is Dreaming and we are Going to Pay

All the Leaves are Brown and the Sky is Grey, the EPA is Dreaming and we are Going to Pay

More fake science from the company that brought us the Le Car. They made the claim the Leaf will get 100 miles on a charge now the US EPA has measured the real distance the Leaf can travel at only 73 miles on a full charge. The batteries in the Relief only have 24 kilowatts of stored energy. The 73 mile range translates into a unit energy consumption of 328.8 watt hours per mile. This is what I had estimated a year ago and I had blogged that the 100 mile range was a figment of the French imagination just like a victorious army. Now the zinger the idiots at the US EPA will allow the Frogs to place a sticker on the overpriced heap of junk that the voiture d’electric gets 99 miles per gallon.

Here is the news release from AP.

Nissan Leaf runs equivalent of 99 miles per gallon
By KEN THOMAS, Associated Press – Mon Nov 22, 5:13 pm ET
WASHINGTON – The Nissan Leaf, an electric car aimed at attracting environmentally conscious motorists, will get the equivalent of 99 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving, based on government testing.
Nissan Motor Corp. said Monday the Environmental Protection Agency's fuel efficiency window sticker, which provides information about the car's energy use, would estimate the electric car will achieve the equivalent of 106 mpg in city driving and 92 mpg on the highway.
EPA's tests estimate the Leaf can travel 73 miles on a fully charged battery and will cost $561 a year in electricity. Nissan has said the Leaf can travel 100 miles on a full charge, based on tests used by California regulators.
Nissan and General Motors Co. are both releasing electric cars within weeks in the auto industry's most prominent attempt at mass-producing vehicles that shift away from petroleum. The Leaf does not have a gas engine and must be recharged once its battery is depleted.
The tests show equivalent fuel efficiency of nearly twice the Toyota Prius, which gets 50 mpg in combined driving.
GM's entry, the Chevrolet Volt, uses an electric battery for the first 25 to 50 miles and a small gasoline engine to generate electricity once the battery runs down. The gasoline engine can generate power to run the car another 300 miles. GM has not yet revealed the mileage rating for the Volt.
Mark Perry, Nissan North America's director of product planning and strategy, said the vehicle's range would vary based on driving conditions. Tests conducted by the Federal Trade Commission, which regulates advertising claims, had estimated a range of 96 to 110 miles per full charge and the company's internal tests had found a broader range of 64 to 138 miles, Perry said. The California Air Resources Board estimated a range of 100 miles.
"As we've said all along, your range varies on driving conditions, temperature, terrain and we've talked about, very openly, this idea of a range of ranges," Perry said in an interview. The Leaf's label will indicate the vehicle is the best in class in fuel efficiency and tailpipe emissions.
Nissan will start selling the Leaf in California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona and Tennessee in December with a sticker price of $32,780. The Leaf will go on sale in other markets through 2011 and be available nationwide by the end of next year.
The Volt will have a sticker price of $41,000 and GM will sell it first in California, then make it available in New York; New Jersey; Connecticut; Washington, D.C.; Michigan and Texas. The car will be sold nationwide in 12 to 18 months.
Both vehicles qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit. Some states and communities are offering additional tax breaks that will lower the price further.
GM spokesman Greg Martin said the automaker was working with EPA and expected to announce details of the Volt's mileage estimates soon.
EPA calculated the Leaf's fuel economy based on a formula that says 33.7 kilowatts per hour holds the energy equivalent of one gallon of gasoline. The label estimates a charging time of 7 hours on a 240-volt charge. Cost estimates were based on 15,000 miles per year at 12 cents per kilowatt-hour.

OK so the US EPA says a gallon of gasoline holds 33.7 kilowatt hours and the Leaf needed 24 kilowatt hours to travel 73 miles. The idiots at EPA then do the math of 33.7 times 73 divide 24 and viola ce sa they get 102.5 mpg. Now my thermodynamic friends how did the EPA pull of this slight of hand. Well of course a gallon of gas has 115,000 BTU which equals 33.7 kilowatt hours at a rate of 3,412 BTU/kwh. But first to get 24 kwh of direct current energy into the battery one needs 26.67 kwh of alternating current energy from the grid. But the electrical energy was not generated with 100% efficiency from a fossil fuel. The US DOE reports that the average kwh of electricity generated by natural gas over the past 12 months to the grid required 7,234 BTUs. Therefore if one applies the 10% loss for AC transmission and distribution and converting from AC to DC plus the energy lost in electric power generation one gets the real equivalent fuel efficiency of 43.5 MPG. Of course this is better than Arne’s Bummer but the 99 MPG is pure fantasy of pathological liars at the EPA who believe that the President of the Ignited States can mandate out any real thermodynamics and wish that the French will save America. France is a minor economic power and the Leaf is a minor automotive power that is not as efficient as the Prius, The Leaf cost 50% more than a Prius and will last on the market about as long as a Dauphine or a La Car.

I also see that Alaric Galoric has now admitted to corn ethanol as a failure. More on that in my next blog. I bet old Alaric was the one who provided the EPA in conveniently untrue formula for MPG calculations of the E vehicles as of course EPA stands for Electricity Produced by Alaric.


  1. If you calculate the energy equivalents for all the manufacturing, distribution, and utilization of electric vehicles, you will find that the average miles-per-gallon-equivalent for the Tesla is less than 6 MPG, for the Volt is 12 MPG, and for the Leaf is 16 MPG. So much for beating the competition.

    The "battery pack" for the Tesla made from thousands of computer Li-ion batteries uses the equivalent of 10,000 gallons of gasoline for its manufacture, and costs $30,000. You go 100,000 miles over 7 years, and you get 10 MPG just for the manufacturing energy alone. BTW, you'll need a new battery pack at that time.

    Earlier net energy analyses at MITRE in the '70s was buried by DOE during the Reagan years. Findings about ethanol, photovoltaics and nuclear power were not well-received. All have negative energy ROI. It takes more energy to build, operate, and retire these facilities than they produce during their lifetimes. No one has yet successfully torn down a nuclear plant and fully disposed of the carcass of the nuclear generator and its waste materials and spent fuel. No one. Not a single nation has yet to finish out its Faustian Bargain. The closest is the Germans who are tearing one down along its northern coast. It has taken 15 years so far and 5 billion euro. It's about 2/3 done.

    You can independently calculate the energy requirement for each vehicle. The easy method is to find its economic cost (usually the price less about 30% for profit and middlemen mark-up) and take 25% of that value. Divide by $2. That's the number of gallons of gasoline equivalent embedded in the cost of its manufacture. Example: The Chevy Volt is priced at $40k. Its cost is about 70% of that, or $28k. The energy cost is about a quarter of that, or $7k. Its energy value for manufacturing and delivery is thus about 3500 gallons of gas equivalent. If the car runs 100,000 miles, it will use about another 2000 gallons at the pump and about 34000 kWh of electricity. Disposal costs will not be insignificant. The batteries must be recycled. Taking the 34 MWH of electricity generated at 10 million BTU/MWh and delivered at 80% efficiency to the plug and another 90% to the battery, this equates to another 3300 gallons of gas. That comes to 8800 gallons to go 100,000 miles, or 11.4 MPG.

    The Leaf is better since it costs less. The Tesla is absolutely terrible, worse than an old Hummer.

  2. Paul this is BRILLIANT !!!! Thanks you are the thermodynamic genius I wish I could be.


  3. Mixing thermodynamics and economics in any analysis is tricky but some of the above assertions are disingenuous at best and ridiculous at worst…

    First, the “economic cost” of a vehicle has absolutely nothing to do with its MSRP and any suggestions to the contrary are wrong-headed… A GMC Yukon SUV has an MSRP of $38,000… The Denali version of the same SUV has an MSRP of $53,000 and the hybrid version of the same vehicle has an MSRP of $58,000… It is laughable to assert that GM uses 39% and 52% more energy to produce the Denali versions of the Yukon…

    Second, the estimate of the Volt’s fuel and electrical energy consumption lacks an analysis of how the 100,000 miles are distributed… On a fully-charged battery, the Volt can travel 30 miles without using any gasoline… If a Volt were mainly used for short trips in the suburbs, as GM’s marketing research concluded, a Volt could rack up 100,000 miles without visiting a gas pump… So, the assumption of “2,000 gallons of gasoline and 34,000 kWh” is also without merit because it assumes consumers will not make good economic choices about how to use their cars… As long as Volt-owners have gasoline in their tanks, they are not required to plug-in their cars at all…

    Third, concluding that the Volt’s true fuel efficiency is “11.4 MPG” is just plain dumb… Are we to believe the EPA fuel-efficiency numbers for gasoline-powered vehicles also include all of these “economic costs”? Either you agree with the EPA’s methodology for fuel-efficiency or you don’t… The EPA assumes that the cost to generate and distribute electricity is reflected in its retail cost just like gasoline… The EPA doesn’t include the “energy” or inefficiency or costs associated with the exploration, transportation, distillation, distribution, promotion, and military protection required to provide gasoline…

    Bottom line: a Leaf gets 73 miles per 24kWh… The residential consumers under PG&E’s Off-Peak (night-time), EV-charging rate Schedule pay $0.05 to $0.14 per kWh… So, a Leaf’s operating cost, including a 90% charging efficiency, is approx. $0.035 per mile traveled… Gasoline currently retails for approx. $3.17 per gallon in California… So, a Leaf gets approx. 90 MPG, if it is to be compared with a gasoline-powered vehicle in a purely economic sense…

  4. Hi Blair glad you chimed in from the left coast where idiots have invented low carbon fuels. The Leaf gets 73 miles per 24 kw of DC so you have to buy 26.4 kw or AC to go 73 miles in perfect conditions. But of course life is never perfect and the pile of French junk will get only 60 miles on a charge in San Francisco and will get less in the cold mid west where the heater/air conditioner for the batteries and the occupants will rob the voiture of charge. My educated guess is 50 miles on a charge in the winter or summer in the mid west or north east. So let's use 50 miles per charge and 0.5 kwh AC per mile and voila we have 7 cents per mile at 14 cent electricity and 7 cents per mile. The hunk of junk will need new batteries in 8 years that cost $24,000 so that is $3,000 per year or at 10,000 miles per year the piece of crap will cost another 30 cents per mile to run. At 37 cents per mile it now is a lot more expensive than a Corolla that costs 10 cents a mile for gasoline. Blair you studied an MBA at Bezerkly and learned leftie economics. Get real and listen to Paul he is a mechanical engineer who studied Thermo in England not Marxism at Cal.

  5. Most net energy analyses are quite conservative in that they do not consider the energy used by the workers who created the equipment and installed it, their families, the energy used by the workers who support the logistics of the people who are directly involved, or the entire multiplier effects of non-manufacturing jobs which stand on the shoulders of the folks doing the work. When all the beans are counted, if the EROI is less than 8:1, the economy shrinks when that technology is chosen. Examples of those choices are nuclear (5:1), fracked natural gas in the US (7:1), oil and tar sands (5:1), geothermal (5:1), photovoltaics in the sunbelt US (3:1) and elsewhere (1:1), ethanol based on non-ag (3:1) and ag (1:1), biodiesel (4:1), algae (4:1), and secondary oil in the US (5:1).

    These are all losers. Not one nickel should be wasted on any of them.

    Sadly, that's where all the money was and is being spent.

    The best choices -- offshore wind, land-based wind in class 5 areas, ocean thermal in the tropics, and solar thermal in high insolation areas, receive almost no help.

    As for electric vehicles, they depend on a backbone of antiquated power plants and a distribution network dating back over a century. They also depend on non-existent materials and manufacturing processes for the nextgen batteries and very limited rare earth elements that do not have a large supply. Depending on these selections reflects poor judgment.

    And yes, ammonia is the only answer left for transportation fuels. It can be made from air and water and ANY SOURCE of heat and electric power. If you're smart, you'll use one that has an EROI higher than 8:1. Right now that is the short list of renewables above, imported gas from cheap international sources, and coal. If you care about the environment it's a really short list.

  6. Mmm. On the one hand, I would agree that the EPA using 33.7kwh/g to compare electric vs. gasoline has little real thermodynamic basis. On the other, comparing natural gas -> electricity -> road miles vs. gasoline isn't exactly ceteris paribus either. Gasoline production has energy costs you don't count in the comparison. Both vehicles run on fossil fuels: Natural gas and coal for the "electric" car, and crude oil for the gasoline car. Battery storage of electricity is highly inefficient, but it can store electricity that is cheaper to produce (i.e., at night, when demand is low but supply is about the same).

    The wild card in all of these calculations is actual range. At 100 miles (you say not doable, but Toyota Rav4 EV users demonstrate it daily), even your "MPGe" number goes to 62; better than any hybrid.

    And yes, Paul's "economic cost" of a vehicle based on sales price is simply insane, and has nothing whatever to do with thermodynamics. You should be ashamed for implying it does.