Saturday, June 9, 2018

Electric Vehicles In The US Get C Grade



The US DOE just issued data for 2017.  We used 2 billion kilowatt hours of  electricity to power plug in vehicles in the USA for the year.  This means that approximately 6 billion miles were driven on electric power.  Average miles driven on each vehicle probably equalled 12,000 miles for the year and therefore half a million gasoline vehicles were replaced by the electric vehicles,  This is a pretty successful but not quite as successful as Obama promised.  Obama promised a million vehicles by 2015.

From a CO2 perspective many of the plug ins are in California which has a green grid.  Let's assume each kilowatt hour of plug in power had 0.75 pounds of CO2.  The CO2 emissions from the 2 billion kwh is therefore 1.5 billion pounds.  Driving 6 billion miles on gasoline at 21 MPG would emit 6 billion pounds of CO2,  The EV revolution saved 4.5 billion pounds of CO2 emissions.

sounds great till you calculate the cost.  Over $4 billion was given in subsidies and let's assume the EV have a 10 year lifespan on the road.  This means each pound of CO2 saved over the life of the vehicle has a subsidy cost of 10 cents.  This equals $200 a ton of CO2.  An amount equal to ten times the value of the CO2 saved.

But at least the EVs did do a lot more than cellulosic ethanol.  Elon Musk is a lot smarter than Vinod Khosla.  Musk gets a C, Khosla scored a F minus.



2 comments: