I have built a spreadsheet that calculates the real equivalent miles per gallon of plug in cars. I do the analysis by “charging” gasoline an equivalent 25 pounds of CO2 emissions per gallon. This is 19 pounds for the actual combustion of a gallon of gasoline plus 6 pounds for the extraction, transportation, and refining of a gallon of gasoline.
The lithium ion batteries are “charged” with 472 kwh of primary energy per kwh of battery capacity as well as the AC energy from the grid to charge up the batteries. Grid emissions (average US) were estimated at 1.3 pounds of CO2 per kwh. My analysis goes through a tedious calculation but is honest and fair. The one variable affecting the outcome is the number of miles driven over the life of the battery pack. For the Tesla model S, I used 8,000 miles per year (their user blog states the average is about 7,500 miles per year) and 10 years of battery life, allowing the energy in the production of the battery pack to be amortized over 80,000 miles in total.
With these real calculations the Tesla model S with an 85 kwh battery pack actually achieves 20.87 MPG equivalent. This is way lower than the 89 MPGe the US EPA has given the car. More sadly approximately a dozen states have certified or will certify the Model S as a ZEV (Zero Emissions Vehicle) and this has already given Tesla many millions of dollars of cash from ZEV credits sold to other auto manufacturers. See the link below from CNN.
Why should some working stiff who buys a Honda Civic with a gasoline engine subsidize a rich person buying a Model S with a huge battery pack? This makes no sense except that the state governments had representatives and senators that simply believed the US EPA about the greenness of EVs and did not understand the first thing about thermodynamics.
The standard gasoline Honda Civic is a much greener car than the Tesla Model S, yet Honda and its customers have to subsidize Tesla to the tune of approximately $13,800 for each model S sold. Now you know how Goldman Sachs made money out of Tesla’s stock and how Tesla paid back the DOE loan early and in full.
The Obama Administration will hold out Tesla as the shining star in their loan program as the money got paid back and got paid back early. I hold out Tesla as a car that gets less than 21 MPGe and is a plaything that is not a truly green car. I am elated Tesla paid back the loan. I am sickened how Tesla showed a profit.
FYI while Elon was returning our half billion dollars to the treasury, Ira Ehrenpreis, a Tesla director pocketed over $70 million in the sale of his shares in Tesla for his VC firm Technology Partners. Ira, who should not be confused with the average IRA of a working stiff, sold 793,290 shares of TSLA stock for $72,117,816. Ira had a fiduciary duty to maximize the value of the shares his VC firm held in Tesla and he sure sold the shares fast and furious.
Al Gore and John Doerr must be very jealous of Ira a fellow VC who bet on Tesla not Fisker. Those of you who bought a Honda Civic in the last few months helped Ira and Technology Partners do well. The state legislatures and the EPA just spread the “wealth” of the poor around while the air gets more CO2 from the 4,900 gangrene model Ss sold last quarter each with $13,800 of pretend ZEV credits we all paid for. The Tesla actually emits 0.8 pounds of CO2 per mile on the basis of its 20.87 MPGe. I guess someone who was not good at math at the EPA rounded 0.8 to Zero.