Electric cars are NOT a pipe dream. Fossil fuel cars are for greedy, selfish people.

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by cosmictotem, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

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    I got tired of seeing the "Electric cars are a pipe dream" thread dominating the forums. Anyone else?

    Electric cars are only a pipe dream if greedy, selfish, ecologically and environmentally unconscious people compare them to fossil fuel cars. Fossil fuel cars, for anything other than emergencies, transport of important goods or persons, are for greedy, selfish, ecologically insensitive people who don't give a damn about what happens to the planet as long as they get where they have to go in the fastest possible amount of time. These are people who won't scale back their consumption one iota if it inconveniences them in the short term. Meanwhile, the reckless use of fossil fuels will inconvenience us all in the long term with the threat of ecological damage and climate change.

    Electric cars are no more a pipe dream than horse and wagons were a pipe dream. There was a time when people had nothing but horse and wagons and life continued. If electric cars appeared in George Washington's time, barring the faster but filthy alternative gas engine, he would have clearly chosen electric cars over the mess and maintenance of a horse and wagon. Now imagine if that happened. Do you think George Washington would have felt the slightest bit inconvenienced? No. He would have only seen electric cars as a plus.

    Why electric cars are superior to gas cars at this time:


    At this stage in our industrialized planet's evolution, it is now becoming increasingly apparent that it is vitally important to reduce our energy consumption and reliance on dirty, fossil fuels. Electric cars force us to do that at the most crucial time: Now. If the colonialists could live with horse and wagons, making exceptions for emergency vehicles and transportation of vital goods and personnel, we can live with the mildly to hugely superior clean vehicle alternative, the electric car. And doing so will improve the health of the planet. Using gas cars are like eating junk food at the transportation table. Sure, it tastes better than carrots and spinach but it's not the healthiest option. Fossil fuel vehicle drivers are the gluttons at the transportation table. They take more than they need and health is effected negatively, in this case, the health of the planet and, ultimately ourselves. Using electric cars is like putting ourselves on a badly needed diet. There is some personal inconvenience involved but, once you get used to it, like the colonialists, you won't even notice it anymore, except for the positives.
     
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  3. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Sort of a silly statement.

    We have a Prius and a Leaf. We use the Prius to go long distances and the Leaf for most of our local driving. We charge the Leaf from a solar array on our roof. Are we "greedy, selfish, ecologically insensitive people?"

    A friend of mine built an EV ten years ago on the chassis of a Kewet. She drove it for a long time but got tired of the range and the speed. So she bought a C-Max Energi pluggable hybrid. Is she "greedy, selfish, ecologically insensitive?"

    Another friend who lives in NY got a job where his commute is about 140 miles a day. He sold his SUV and bought a Prius. Is he "greedy, selfish, ecologically insensitive?"

    I'm sure he would have charged it from his solar array. And at night just plugged in to his town's electrical grid.

    Electric cars are a good alternative for many people. They are not a replacement for fueled cars, and should not be sold as such. A future where we see 25% EV's, 25% gasoline cars, 25% natural gas cars and 25% alternative fuels (diesel, biodiesel, hydrogen, ethanol, syngas etc) would be a good future; trying to make that future 100% EV would be a big mistake.
     
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  5. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    I sort of half agree. But surely the environmental virtue of electric cars depends crucially on how the electricity they use is produced, doesn't it? You don't say a word about this, but unless the power comes from nuclear or renewables, isn't it just as bad as driving a fossil-fuelled car?
     
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  7. andy1033 Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

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    Personally have no interest in cars, but i would assume the oil industry is here for a good while yet. Doubt there really is a thing called peak oil.
     
  8. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Electric cars are for greedy, selfish people who want to feel good about the environment while at the same time not changing their high energy lifestyle at all. Electric cars require a functioning consumer base which is fundamentally unsustainable, a physical landscape of mostly single family homes separated from work and services by a significant distance, factories with a 6,000 mile supply chain fed by huge container ships which burn crude oil, an electrical grid which is presently powered by mostly fossil fuels, and a road system that requires constant paving with asphalt, a petroleum product.

    I realize that electric cars are technically feasible, more efficient and reduce local pollution, but let's not pretend you are saving the world.
     
  9. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

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    747
    Of course. i assumed a science forum would take that as a given. But yes, billvon's scenario with solar panels charging the car, is the ideal. I don't know why he thought I was saying EV drivers were selfish when i clearly said is was gas vehicle drivers.
     
  10. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    12,714
    1) I drive a gas car (a Prius) when I need to go longer distances. By your definition I am therefore one of those "greedy, selfish, ecologically insensitive people who don't give a damn about what happens to the planet as long as they get where they have to go in the fastest possible amount of time."

    2) Electric vehicle drivers who get their power from coal fired power plants are far more selfish than someone who bikes to work. Someone who bikes on a road is far more selfish than someone who bikes through a field. Someone who bikes at all is far more selfish than someone who walks. That's the bad news; the good news is there is always someone to look down on (if that's your thing.)
     
  11. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    12,714
    There is certainly a "peak cheap oil." We'll never see cheap oil again. As supplies of cheaper oil dwindle the price of oil will climb, which will finance the drilling and extraction of the more expensive oil. This will continue until the alternatives (like natural gas) are so much cheaper that most people just can't afford a gasoline powered car. Then a sort of "peak oil" will indeed occur; there will be less demand so the supply will drop.
     
  12. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

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    747
    I will assert they are a replacement, if you accept the hypothesis that gas cars never should have been developed. The only reason you or I compare EV's to fossil fuel vehicles is because fossil fuel vehicles were developed. If they never were developed we would never know what we are missing in terms of range and speed. I know this is a bit of a mind trick but I'm trying to make a point. the point is, there are some "conveniences" that should never be developed or pursued for too long, because, ultimately, they are not convenient to humanity in the long run. At this point, our love affair with gas engines has gone on too long and is now killing us. There are inventions we would be better of skipping. You can say an interplanetary death laser would be a very convenient weapon for war but should we really make one? I think not. But if you start to compare the weapons we have now with the possibility of an interplanetary death laser, of course, suddenly, you're not going to be too satisfied with the weapon technology we have now. But if you never had any concept of an interplanetary death laser, you wouldn't miss it. there are some toys humanity should not have, no matter the conveniences because some of them may be detrimental to our survival down the road.

    If you're thinking about the survival of the planet and your species, EV's ARE an adequate replacement for gas vehicles. Just like reforestation is an adequate behavior to replace clear cutting. We've gained more knowledge since then and our choices should reflect that knowledge, not ignore it.
     
  13. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    ..At this point, our love affair with gas engines automobiles has gone on too long and is now killing us...

    fixed it for you
     
  14. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

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    1.) You're doing the best you can with the resources available to you, so that is honorable. Many are not and intentionally doing their worst.

    2.) As far as a never-ending scale of selfishness, it ends when we are not producing so much pollution that it is threatening the planet. As long as we reach a state where our manufacturing is no longer a threat to our existence, we can have a certain amount of non-organic products. It's when it starts to tip the scales and becomes unmanageable and dangerous to the ecology of the planet we run into a problem.
     
  15. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

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    Why do you think that's fixed? We can have automobiles and not threaten the health of the planet.
     
  16. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Cars in general require tremendous amounts of energy to produce, and most of that happens in countries without many environmental regulations. It's not just about pollution where you live. I think that's the least of our worries in that pollution is self-limiting. There is a finite amount of fossil fuels on the planet, and before half of it runs out, the world economy will collapse. Then we will discover how wrong we were to build our entire society around the car.
     
  17. Stoniphi obscurely fossiliferous Valued Senior Member

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    The long term trend is towards more folks moving into the big cities as we head towards the middle of the century. At least so say the people who watch such things. There is a also a lot of movement towards efficient mass transit and increasing use of bicycles and scooters in much of the world. The US lags in all of these areas, of course.

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  18. Buddha12 Valued Senior Member

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    Or we could start building reactors to make hydrogen to use instead in those cars which won't pollute, won't ever run out and is renewable.
     
  19. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    That doesn't change the energy needed to build a car. (Reactors aren't renewable BTW.)
     
  20. Buddha12 Valued Senior Member

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    But it would reduce the amount of oil needed by a substantial amount worldwide and give us better air to breathe. The electricity that the reactors would produce could also be given to the auto industry to produce cars as well. Reactors must be replaced every 25 years or thereabouts so they can be improved upon too.
     
  21. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    And if my grandmother had wheels, we could drive her to the store. This is all still pie in the sky, there is no hydrogen infrastructure.
     
  22. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    That's an awful lot of nuclear waste to dispose of every 25 years. Not just the spent fuel, but the reactor vessel, the primary coolant loop, the storage pools . . . . adds up to a huge amount of waste.

    Reactors aren't a bad solution, but:

    1) they are not all that clean. Maybe clean compared to coal, but that's a pretty low standard.
    2) they are not cheap and need a lot of government subsidies to maintain.
    3) if you are going to build them anyway, use them to replace electric generation then take all the natural gas we've saved and run our cars on that. Hydrogen is a dangerous low range fuel that is hard to produce, store and deliver.
     
  23. cosmictotem Registered Senior Member

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    747
    Or we could build retirement communities around a central market and connect each residence by pnuenmatic tube so your grandma could order her groceries over the Internet and have them delivered straight to her house via the tube.
     

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