The difficulty with electric cars is energy density of the battery:
Material Energy content Conversion Energy
(watt-hrs/lb) Efficiency available to
Gasoline 6,000 20%- 1,200-
Ethanol 4,000 30%+ 1,200+
Li ion batt 120 80%+ 96+
Ethanol is a powerful motor fuel in its own right and, if used in an engine optimized for ethanol, has slightly better available energy than gasoline.
Lithium ion batteries provide at the most 120 watt-hours/lb of available energy to move the car which is why EV's weigh a lot and cost a lot of money. The Chevy Bolt can go 238 miles on a single charge, but at the cost of weight (3600 lb vehicle). The battery alone in a Chevy Bolt weights 960 lbs and you can't even buy the car with a power seat!
If you add even more batteries to get more more power and mileage, the weight of the vehicle increases and efficiency drops even more. The battery in the GMC Hummer EV weighs 2,923 lbs, a third of the total vehicle weight which is why it costs so much and gets horrible mileage - 64 KWHrs to go 100 miles.
Gasoline electric hybrids have a longer range, but they still burn the problem - gasoline.
For batteries to be competitive with gasoline or ethanol the energy density will have to jump from 120 to 1500 watt-hrs/lb. There is nothing on the horizon to indicate this is going to be possible on any sort of near term time scale.
Number of light duty (LD) vehicles in U.S. ~280,000,000
Number of EV's sold in USA in 2021 436,124*
Automotive News (1/10/21, *Tesla estimates)
Number of LD vehicles sold in USA in 20221 15,060,287
In summary, in 2021 the market share of EVs was 2.9% with 72% of all those being Tesla estimates (313,400).
For the 1st quarter of 2022, 152,035 EVs were sold out of 3,368,789 LD vehicles sold for a share of 4.6%. This is hardly a vote of confidence.
In any case, these sales volumes are horrible especially considering massive government subsidies, rebates, HOV lane stickers and free recharging stations. The fact that market share is so low for these vehicles indicates that these vehicles simply do not provide value to the consumer.
Bottom line: Trying to lower CO2 emissions by going to EVs is equivalent to trying to empty a lake at one end by taking a 1,000 gallons of water out at one end and putting 10,000 gallons in at the other end. You have to stop the input.
To make a difference in the amount of gasoline used, we have to replace millions of vehicles per year, not just thousands, tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands.
If a decision were made to ban new gasoline powered vehicles, we could easily replace our LD fleet with a mix of EVs, H2Vs, and EtOHVs over the next 20 years. This would truly make a significant dent in the amount of CO2 emitted and reduce global warming.
Electric cars are great technology, exciting to work on, and fun to drive, but, as the numbers and costs show, are simply not a viable strategy for significantly reducing CO2 emissions or for making us independent of imported oil on any sort of reasonable time schedule.
Copyright © 2022 E100 Ethanol Group - All Rights Reserved.
Last Updated June 26, 2022