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2007 Ford Explorer - Global warming

comment - Your article about electric cars is great. However the biggest reason to get one is less of a contribution to global warming. hope to replace our car with an ecar.

Research the chemicals used to make the batteries, how and where they are mined as well as how your electric power actually is created. A case could (and has been) be made that a small efficient gasoline powered car is actually better for the environment. This is coming not from Ray, but a degreed engineer with 30 + years experience with automobiles and electric powered warehouse vehicles.


Nobody I know can be bothered to perform a life cycle carbon analysis. Today’s gasoline cars consume 15% of their life cycle energy (i.e. carbon) from manufacturing at the factory level. This from the SAE itself. The other 85% comes from fuel, maintenance and repairs.

However, the “upstream” carbon generation needs to be looked at as well. This part is usually ignored.

I personally would like to see a “cradle to grave” carbon analysis of the complete cycle.

Our family has already met the 2030 United Nations goal of a 30% carbon reduction from the 2005 level. We did this by retrofitted the house, and trading down to 2 smaller cars. Our electrical use has not dropped, but it is offset by the 40% reduction in home and transportation. None of this has affected our lifestyle.
As appliances wear out and are replaced with latest high efficiency units we will achieve the 30% in that area as well.

Scientific American published an analysis several years ago that showed over 50% of folks would generate the same or less CO2 with a Prius-type hybrid, instead of an EV, because of how the electricity was generated. With the ongoing shift away from coal, that % has probably dropped, but it’s still far from a black/white choice for EVs.

And then there is this new bit of info…

Lots of cobalt in the li-Ion batteries used in EV production.

Good for you. I’ve insulated and sealed every house I’ve ever owned reducing my energy consumption by 50%, 40% and 15% in 3 homes respectively. The last of the 3 homes was built in 2002 and was fully insulated but leaked air like a screen door. My current, much smaller home, has been reduced by 20% so far with a few projects left to go. My overall energy usage is less than half what it was in 2012 since reducing temps from 95 to 79 F with AC uses FAR less energy than heating from 15 degrees to 70 F.

My cars have improved in fuel efficiency with each newer vehicle. I don’t like hybrids - 2 powertrains and energy sources in ONE car? That bothers me. I would consider an EV for one of our cars.

But I do it because I am an engineer that hates wasting energy that I have to pay for.

Oh boy. Did you have to open that can of worms?

Click and Clack don’t read these forums.