Electric Plug-In Cars Consume 300% More Water

March 12 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Energy   Year: 2008   Rating: 12

According to a recent study published by the American Chemical Society electric plug-in vehicles use-up 300% more water resources than do their petroleum-burning counterparts. The report takes into account the water evaporated during as the electricity these cars rely on is generated.

“In displacing gasoline miles with electric miles, approximately 3 times more water is consumed (0.32 versus 0.07–0.14 gallons/mile) and over 17 times more water is withdrawn (10.6 versus 0.6 gallons/mile) primarily due to increased water cooling of thermoelectric power plants to accommodate increased electricity generation,” assert study authors Carey King and Michael Webber of the University of Texas at Austin.

This could have a big impact on the adoption and use of electric cars in water-scarce areas like the American South-West, China, Africa and the Middle East. In alignment with this possibility, the study, titled The Water Intensity of the Plugged-In Automotive Economy notes that “the impact on water resources from a widespread shift to grid-based transportation would be substantial enough to warrant consideration for relevant public policy decision-making.”

As both water and petroleum are consumed at an increasingly fast rate, this will certainly come into play as nations determine their plug-in policies and may delay the adoption of such vehicles. At the same time, more efficient batteries are likely to gradually offset the water cost.

One thing that is certain is the idea that we must carefully analyze the holistic effects of any new transportation technology, holding it up to the same critical standards that we’ve just recently developed for oil. Unfortunately, in our exuberance, it’s possible that we could do more harm than good.

Toyota Dealership Starts Promoting 2010 Prius Plug-ins

October 22 2008 / by joelg
Category: Energy   Year: 2008   Rating: 4 Hot

by Joel Greenberg

A Toyota dealership in Austin, TX sent out an email on 10/21/08 to it’s Prius list promoting the 2010 Toyota Plug-in Hybrid, asking for a refundable deposit.

To quote from the email, “The approximate release of the redesigned 2010 PLUG IN PRIUS is the last quarter of 2009.”

What’s more interesting is the mention of solar panels on the roof:

“The 2010 Plug In Prius will get approximately 40 miles to a charge without using any gas. Solar panels on the roof and our Hybrid technology for longer trips.”

Because of the small surface area, the solar panels will not be able to generate much electricity. They may be used to power a small exhaust fan which could be used during hot summer days. To quote an anonymous source cited in the International Herald Tribune, “It’s more of a symbolic gesture.”

Book Review. Plug-in Hybrids: The Cars that Will Recharge America

October 01 2008 / by joelg
Category: Energy   Year: 2010   Rating: 3

By Joel Greenberg

It’s tough as an everyday consumer to participate in changing how we generate and use power. If you don’ t work for an automobile manufacturer, an energy company, a utility, or the government, it seems you’re pretty much out of luck in affecting real change. For transportation, you can either ditch your car and use public transportation, ride your bike, or buy a Toyota Prius or other hybrid vehicle.

But soon, there will be another choice, which takes a Prius from 40-50 mpg to 100+ mpg. By adding more batteries to a hybrid and giving it a plug, you now have what’s known as a “Plug-in Hybrid Electric”, or PHEV. But you can’t buy one…yet. You could build your own from plans on the Internet today from the PriusPlus Project, but not every Prius owner is into DIY car hacking, or violating their warranty. You can hire an after market company to convert your Prius for $8,000 to $24,000. Or, you can wait 18-24 months before the first vehicles arrive from Toyota, etc.

The basic idea is this: for the average driver, most trips during the day are surprisingly short. Let’s say less than 10 miles. Errands, grocery shopping, chauffeuring kids, etc, all generally happen within 10 miles for the average driver. A PHEV has at least a 10 mile capacity with its additional battery packs, so effectively, for 80% of typical driving, a PHEV is an electric car because it will will not need to to turn on its gas engine. The benefits: no fossil fuel combustion to foul up our air, or burn up our dollars…at a cheaper price per mile. It’s the best of both worlds: an electric vehicle for most of your day to day driving, plus a gas engine as back up when you need it.

But today, about the only thing you can do is follow the news, read bloggers, or read, Plug-in Hybrids: Cars That Will Recharge the America by Sherry Boschert (2006, New Society Publishes). In it, Boschert weaves the story of the GM EV1 electric car and it’s demise with a number of related stories including one about how a group of enthusiastic hackers, makers, and activists converted a Prius into a PriusPlus PHEV, with another story of how activists and a former CIA Director are stumping for PHEV’s as the best way to help us out of the energy crunch. Along the way she brings to light how the automobile companies change (or not), how a small group of people can help affect change, and how the PHEV activists trash hydrogen.

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[Video] EV's, PHEV's and the Grid. Austin Energy's Roger Duncan Talks Electricity

October 31 2008 / by joelg
Category: Energy   Year: 2008   Rating: 1

By Joel Greenberg

With every major automotive manufacturer announcing an electric vehicle, hybrid, or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) to debut in the next 2-5 years, it’s clear that these vehicles are poised to compete in the mass market. But how did we get here? Where do we need to go to make this happen? Is the grid ready?


Roger Duncan, General Manager of Austin Energy, discusses these issues from the point of view of the person responsible for delivering electricity to these vehicles.

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