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Electric cars less climate friendly than thought

The Local · 30 Jan 2012, 08:48

Published: 30 Jan 2012 08:48 GMT+01:00

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Citing an Environment Ministry survey, the paper said the drive towards e-mobility will actually worsen climate change at first by expending vast amounts of energy to create the new vehicles and the infrastructure they require.

And although one million electric autos would lower Germany's transportation greenhouse gas emissions by six percent, a comparable amount of highly fuel-efficient cars running on petrol could cut them by a quarter.

The ministry’s institute behind the survey said the biggest problem was the amount of electricity consumed by e-cars. Only if Germany dramatically ramped up its renewable power production can their impact on the climate be lessened.

The report also said the government’s goal of having one million electric vehicles on Germany’s streets was likely only to be reached a few years after its target of 2020.

Story continues below…

The Local/DPA/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:42 January 30, 2012 by pepsionice
Just to point out the obvious. When you get this battery-powered car, it has to be charged. Your boss or company will figure out the increased costs and not allow chargers to be hung around their business. So you will charge it at home. If you pay around 150 Euro on average a month now.....you can figure thirty day chargings of your car to add a minimum of 250 Euro onto your current bill...maybe more. If you check out your electrical bill...almost every single year....it's gone up. The electrical companies are stupid about this....they will escalate the pricing rate for heavy users, and you might end up with a 700 Euro bill. The question then becomes.....did you really save any money?
10:43 January 30, 2012 by jg.
I guess neighbouring countries will be happy to sell Germany plenty of nuclear-generated electricity, unless the shortfall is to provided by burning coal or Russian gas. Like their British counterparts, German politicians seem to plunge headlong into anything that sounds vaguely green and none of them have actually considered the need for a coordinated approach to energy and transport policies.
10:53 January 30, 2012 by frankiep
You're missing the point.

Buying and using electric cars may be completely counterproductive, more expensive, and more wasteful but that's ok because it makes the users FEEEEEELLLLLLL better.
13:31 January 30, 2012 by zeddriver
Lets add this up.

The leaf will cost 37,000 euros without options. With only a 160KM range under ideal conditions. add winter darkness and using the electric cabin heater, Satnav, Stereo. It's a sure bet that a lot of folks will run the cells down to nothing. Which will require a fast charge. Thus reducing battery life to about five years. Cost of new battery pack. 5,000 euros. Not to mention that should one run out of power. The leaf has to be put on a truck. It cannot be pull by a tow strap or the motor assembly will be toast. The battery packs are composed of not so eco friendly things.

But of course all this does not matter. As long as I feel good. and I'm able to brag to my ecomentalist friends that i saved a polar bear. Which of course you didn't.
14:06 January 30, 2012 by derExDeutsche

'Like their British counterparts, German politicians seem to plunge headlong into anything that sounds vaguely green and none of them have actually considered the need for a coordinated approach to energy and transport policies. '

I would disagree. They know EXACTLY what they are doing.
15:46 January 30, 2012 by DOZ
You gotta start somewhere. Don't be discouraged by the Petrol Pigs.

And remember, Canada is getting ready to slaughter massive numbers of Baby Seals on it's east coast, for it's Fur and Flippers. Once again, the Sea Ice will run red.
20:59 January 30, 2012 by ovalle3.14
"Learn to swim"- Adam Jones, Tool.
21:24 January 30, 2012 by carlm
Electric cars have been around for about 100 years and still can't make it without massive taxpayer subsidies. And until electricity can be generated without emissions they don't reduce pollution. The big problem is the batteries, they're not very good and there's no breakthrough just around the corner. Electric cars are just another stupid idea from the left who can't stand individual liberty and the affluent lifestyle that results from it. Except for themselves. And lest I forget to mention it, DOZ is an idiot.
21:59 January 30, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ carlm

Well, the first electric car was invented less than 85 years ago. Let's not forget that it took about 100 years for internal-combustion cars to enter the common use.
22:49 January 30, 2012 by zeddriver

carlm is really close. The first successful electric car in America was built in 1891 by William Morrison in Iowa. New York city had electric taxis in 1897.

Carl Benz had the patent for autos in 1885 and Henry Ford was mass producing them by the mid 1920's only forty years after the Benz patent. So in 120 years the electric car is still just a curiosity. And of course the ecomentalists that love electric cars also advocate the disassembly of the best and cheapest source of power to charge them up. Atomic power plants.
02:05 January 31, 2012 by rfwilson
@ ChrisRea

"Well, the first electric car was invented less than 85 years ago. Let's not forget that it took about 100 years for internal-combustion cars to enter the common use."

In fact, the electric car and the gasoline car were BOTH invented at roughly the same time, over 100 years ago. It took only 30 or 40 years for the internal-combustion cars to "enter common use".

The electric car still hasn't got there yet, even after 50 year's development of various battery technologies that STILL cannot store enough energy to be useful for anything except city driving.
10:26 January 31, 2012 by roblongstaff
I agree that the electric car revolution will a have a huge negative impact environmentally. It sux that despite zero emmisions (excluding the source of the energy)

the car companies will still spend millions selling us a new "shape" every couple of years, with new components, chassis etc...dug and sucked out of the earth. We need to convert the millions of cars already cluttering up our roads. Yes, many of them are heavier and less aerodynamic and it is a pipe dream to think that the government would get behind large scale conversion, excluding the car companies from making a buck...so Convert your old car..or don't drive (driving still sux, electric or not :)

14:21 January 31, 2012 by zeddriver

Convert cars to what?

Don't drive. Have you been outside of central Europe? There are a lot of countries with huge land masses and towns with large distances between them that makes even basic train travel difficult.

In central Europe where people are stacked on one another like firewood. It's far easier to fix or build solutions for commuting. There are places in North, South, and Central America that are hundreds of miles apart. So I wonder when you say just don't drive. How much thought did you really put into that statement. Or did you say that because it made you feel warm and fuzzy inside. I realize that you do mean well. But the problem is so much more complex and hard to solve than just saying. Don't drive. Which will not bode to well if you need to get from Bakersfield CA. to Beatty Nv. Which will take you through death valley. Sorry. no trains or subways nor roads either in those areas.
19:32 January 31, 2012 by roblongstaff

oh Damn, I've made myself look naive and drawn myself into a conversation...

I should clarify. When I wrote "convert", I meant convert to pig poo and when I wrote "don't drive" I meant, don't respond to my thread. Yours sincerely, converted (electric) car owner and long distance cyclist from Australia (quite a big country).
01:51 February 1, 2012 by Freeman
On my Friends Maybach the auto's roof has Solar panels, which provide electrical power for a variety of the cards Features,
02:35 February 1, 2012 by zeddriver

Sorry my friend. Hadn't realized you had taken a shock while attempting to plug in your car to your pig poo flux capacitor charging station. I'll refrain from answering anymore of your posts.
15:05 February 1, 2012 by iseedaftpeople
It's been known for some time that electrical cars are much less environmentally friendly than advertised.

I read something about the Toyota Prius a while ago, THE iconic hybrid...

Toyota sources the parts for it globally for cost efficiency reasons, which means that for every Prius built, an immense amount of fossile fuel is burned to get the parts to and fro from around the world. Before one single Prius is assembled and comes off the conveyor belt, in total, more energy is consumed than in the building of most other conventional combustion-engine cars. In order to break even and really start saving and protecting the environment, you have to drive about 50,000 miles with a Prius compared to a similar modern-day combustion-engine vehicle.

Or just do what I did - buy an older fuel-efficient car (even 10-year-old cars like my VW Passat can provide great fuel economy!) and keep driving it until it falls apart... the amount of fossile fuel that is used to build any new car should be equivalent to around another 50,000 miles worth of driving a car like mine.
16:39 February 1, 2012 by raandy
It's time to bring back the Stanley Steamer.
19:42 February 1, 2012 by Grebo
Driving less is the answer.
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