A global debate occurred today 6 July 2012, after James Knight of The Fuelcard Company in the UK posted a guide – Electric Motoring: The Technology Every Fleet Manager Should Know About. A guide for Fleet managers are looking to greener technologies to combat fuel costs and emissions.
CO2Land org played the devil’s advocate by quoting Origin Energy’s comparision posted on Drive.com.au . The quote being “A new generation of plug-in cars could do more to damage the environment than a Holden Commodore…..Origin Energy, Australia’s largest energy supplier, has compared the running costs and carbon dioxide emissions associated with a Nissan Leaf electric car against a similarly sized Mazda3 small car and Toyota’s environmental hero, the Prius.
Nissan come back with ‘‘It’s mostly Victoria that has the brown coal issue…Even in NSW (which uses black coal-fired power) the CO2 data are better…. ‘While it’s a most parochial angle, brown coal-fired Victoria is probably the least attractive to electric vehicles at the moment…’But this is changing with the carbon tax et al, and, as Nissan has said in the past, we can deliver the ultimate emission free technology but we can’t fix everything (like the source of energy) for which governments and energy producers are ultimately responsible….the Commodore’s emissions figures would look even worse if – similar to accounting for the emissions from electricity generation – the CO2 output of refining oil to make petrol was taken into account.
CO2Land took note of the comment and an interesting point prevails – what is the full life cycle cost of any of each of these types of cars? No real answer came forward, however on the grid emissions matter affecting electric cars environmental performance, the response from Ron Benenati in California USA was worth taking notice of: “The grid is everything. I suspect this bodes worse for Australia’s electric generation than for electric vehicles. It is one of the filthiest grids in the world. Coal fired electric plants are dinosaurs on their way out. THIS IS WHAT WE MUST GET BEYOND. It is the whole package. I have seen no other research as severe in its conclusions”.Then in defence of electric cars, Ron said: “But, three things I would add…The technology is new, and will only improve. Grids, in most, countries are getting better -rapidly. Renewable energy now provides 20 percent of electric worldwide according to the IEA. In my country, states like California have set a target of 60 per cent clean electric generation in the near future. So, dirty fuel generation is not really the failure of electric cars. In hybrids vs conventional, MPG/MPK, certainly means a lot in terms of emissions. It also means a lot in terms of spills, contamination from processing before we even get to car emissions… If we are going to have a future, I suspect electric cars will be a part of it”.
Sheepishly, this writer has to say, seeing we live with such a dirty fuel generation system in this country, the preferred vehicle in this garage is POWERFUL – vroom vroom – for another couple of years anyway!