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Found 3 results

  1. There’s been a lot of back-and-forth about hybrid (HEV) and electric vehicles (EV) in terms of their benefits to the environment and their monetary benefits, which, to me, was a surprise. My initial thoughts were, “Well how could there even be a debate? Anything to start moving us away from our dependence on fossil fuels, especially our dependence on the oil industry.” My view was idealistic, and I’d say it hasn’t changed. In general it’s a good idea to move away from our irritable, messy oil neighborhood and into a cleaner place where we can breathe. But when buying a hybrid or electric vehicle there are some things to consider if you want to make the most environmentally-conscious decision. 1. Where Do You Live? When buying an electric vehicle one of the main things to consider is where you live. If you’re buying one of the new plug-in electric vehicles, for example, the well-to-wheel emissions are going to differ based on your location. Well-to-wheel emissions are the total amount of emissions that result in the effort to power your car. If you’re like me, you live in an area where the majority (%49.61) of electricity is generated through burning coal. In this case if I were to buy a plug-in here the annual emissions (62 pounds of CO2) are going to be higher than if I bought a regular EV (54 pounds of CO2) or even a hybrid (57 pounds of CO2). So although that new plug-in might be appealing, the EV or HEV is going to be better for the environment. 2. What About Your Wallet? In the case of hybrid vs fully electric cars there are some variable considerations as well. I checked out this article about the comparative difference in money saved over time, and the basic synopsis is that the fully electric vehicle is going to pay off the difference in price quicker than the hybrid will. By this, I mean a regular car costs less out of the gate, but over time the hybrid or electric saves you money on gas. Since you don’t have to pay anything for gas to power an electric, you’re going to make back the extra money you spent faster with an electric than you will with a hybrid. Those figures come from when gas was on average $3.52 per gallon. Now that the national average is $2.20 per gallon, my calculations (doing the same type of calculations as the article cited above) show that you would have to drive about 116 thousand miles to make up the price difference between the Nissan Leaf (EV) and the Toyota Prius (HEV), and that’s if gasoline’s average price remains at $2.20. So in this case the HEV is going to be less expensive, and, in terms of well-to-wheel emissions, if you live in a coal-powered area the Prius (HEV) will spew out 57 pounds of CO2 vs the Leaf’s (EV) 54 pounds. In the short term, that 3 pound difference might be enough to tip some scales toward the hybrid. 3. In the Long Run? The EV is the way to go because of the recent regulations on coal emissions, which stipulate that plants have to cut their CO2 emissions up to 30% by 2030. That means EV’s will have to rely less and less on coal-generated power by 2030; if we can move further into an age of wind and solar energy, and as long as EV’s can run longer than 116 thousand miles, you’ll earn your money back and benefit the environment. But will consumers be able to look past immediate monetary factors and into the more distant future? The current gas prices make it easier for someone who’s strapped for cash to go out and purchase a high-performing 30 mpg vehicle like the Corolla for about $10K less than you’ll spend on the Leaf. And instant gratification is what got us into this climate change mess to begin with. So let’s hope the long-term benefits of the Leaf, as well as the $7,500 tax credit, can tip the scales as the 2015 auto-buying year plays out.
  2. Tesla Motors want to create their own global network of fast-chargers for their increasingly popular electric vehicles. They currently have 103 Tesla Superchargers in the US but plan to expand globally soon, mainly in Europe but also in parts of Asia. By the end of 2015, Tesla Motors say they 98% of the US population will live (somewhat) nearby one of these superchargers. Around the same time, Tesla plans to start their global expansion.    These three maps show where they plan to build their superchargers:   North America Only six superchargers in Canada?     Europe Western Europe gets all the love it seems.     Asia Not much has been planned for Asia though...   
  3. In a rather surprising and unprecedented move, Tesla Motors, the U.S. electric car company, has announced that they will allow their competitors to use their patents. Tesla Motors is giving access to its patents in an effort to spur the global use of green electric cars to address the climate crisis. At least that’s what Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla Motors, claimed in a post on the company’s blog. “Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport,” Musk wrote. “If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal. Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.” According to Musk, Tesla Motors originally created the patents for fears that the larger car companies would simply copy their electric car technology and sidestep Musk and his car company with their massive manufacturing, sales and marketing power. “We couldn’t have been more wrong,” Musk said. “At best, the large automakers are producing electric cars with limited range in limited volume. Some produce no zero emission cars at all.” Global vehicle production is nearing 100 million cars per year but not even one percent of these are electric cars, or vehicles that doesn’t burn hydrocarbons. Considering that the global car fleet is nearing two billion, Musk believes that Tesla Motors competition are not other car manufactories, instead it’s all the gasoline cars that rolls out of factories every single day. “It is impossible for Tesla to build electric cars fast enough to address the carbon crisis,” Musk said. “We believe that Tesla, other companies making electric cars, and the world would all benefit from a common, rapidly-evolving technology platform.” But Musk and Tesla Motors is not only doing this to fight climate change, or because they represent some sort of new philanthropic, open-source corporate movement. Tesla Motors are expected to build a huge factory, nicknamed the Gigafactory, in the U.S. that will produce the company’s unique batteries. These cylindrical batteries are the key feature that allow electric cars from Tesla Motors to double, or even triple, its driving range compared to other electric vehicles. “Even if other competitors copy Tesla’s design, Tesla still gets to sell them batteries, and that’s pretty awesome. Tesla’s decision isn’t entirely altruistic,” patent law expert Jacob Sherkow told the Los Angeles Times.