Are modern electric cars more cost effective than older designs that use the internal combustion engine? Engineers who have studied electric vehicles don’t think so, when overall long-term costs are considered:
- “By 2025 we see battery electric vehicles still with too long a payback, and inadequate range.” – Joseph Bakaj, VP for powertrain-engine engineering, Ford Motor Co.
- The amount of energy/mass delivered by the lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars is close to zero, compared to gasoline and diesel fuels, which provide more energy at the least weight and cost. “The rumored death of the internal combustion engine is premature.” – Sam Winegarden, executive director of powertrain-engineering at General Motors
- The batteries in electric cars cost about 3.5 times more than the internal combustion engine. – Chris Cowland, director of advanced powertrains at Chrysler Group
(from “Engineers Cast Wary Eye On Role of Electric Cars” by Joseph B. White, 26 April 2012 Wall Street Journal)
Okay, so electric cars are presently not economically attractive. But what about their environmental advantages? These may also be illusory. Just because batteries don’t emit pollution locally (if sealed properly), pollution is still emitted by the power plants that provide the energy to recharge the batteries. This pollution will vary depending on the fuel used by the utility (e.g. dirtier coal versus cleaner nuclear).
Bottom line: electric vehicles are another example of a poorly-analyzed faddish idea pushed by naive and arrogant politicians who (with very few exceptions) have no background in science. The end result is a very costly product with unproven environmental advantages.