To some of us this is a strange question. But, to many, who have been exposed only to the American Corporate view of Electric Vehicle technology, as currently presented to the public by the media, this is, an all to often, asked question.
It is hard to believe that only a few years ago, Automobile manufacturers had production Electric Vehicles on the road. Their appearance and disappearance correlates directly to the appearance and disappearance of the California “Zero Emissions Mandate”.
The RAV4 EV is the outstanding survivor of this short series of production Electric Vehicles. Amazingly more than ten years after its introduction, most of these Rav4 EV’s are still on the road with their original Panasonic EV-95 NiMH batteries.
This, in the face of repeated claims by Corporate America, that when we have the necessary battery technology, we can put production vehicles (back) in our showrooms. After buying a controlling interest in the company holding the patent for the batteries in the RAV4, then fighting to kill the Zero Emissions Mandate, and finally, that same auto manufacturer sold its controlling interest necessary to build Battery Electric Vehicles to an oil company.
Why? Why would an auto manufacturer who now says they are waiting for the right battery technology, do this? What interest does an oil company have in batteries? I believe these batteries are a national security issue. These batteries offer a solution to our foreign oil dependency and global warming. Why doesn’t the government see that holding these batteries from the open market, is a national security issue?
American Corporate Spin, is such that they have us believing that we don’t have the battery technology necessary to put Battery Electric Vehicles on the road. At the same time no one feels obligated to ask or answer the questions posed above.
Having converted my 99 Ford Ranger to a Battery Electric Vehicle, I find myself often defending my vehicle from private individuals presentation of American Corporate insanity.
I am told that my AGM Lead Acid Batteries are a threat to the environment. Such batteries are damaging the environment when disposed of in landfills. The actual fact is that lead recycling is the most successful recycling program at 97 percent of lead reclaimed to produce new batteries. This is amazing when compared to Aluminum recycled at 45 percent.
This is an example of taking the worst case scenario, a battery dumped in a land fill, an exaggeration of the actual handling of spent batteries, and using it to justify a lack of willingness to produce electric vehicles.
The only reason I am using Lead batteries, is because I can’t buy, any of the tried and proven batteries used in the RAV4 EV. Those EV 95 NiMH batteries produced by Panasonic for Toyota would extend my range and last far longer that the lead batteries I am forced, by Corporate Oil, to use.
The automotive industry is waiting for Lithium Ion battery technology. In my opinion, Lithium Ion is a poor choice for the average electric vehicle. These batteries although they have excellent energy to weigh and energy to space ratios are unproven in actual fleet use. In addition, they have a calendar life of about three years. NiMH batteries on the other hand have been proven to deliver long-term service. I believe the high cost and short life of lithium Ion batteries is a more important consideration than the advantages of weight and size. Although NiMH batteries are slightly larger and heavier, they are cheaper and last as long as the average car. At the same time they are far superior to Lead Acid batteries.
The first question is always; how fast will it go, how far will it go? Thanks to American Corporate information and education, nobody thinks about, how does it affect our dependency on foreign oil or the environment?
The automobile industry is selling power and performance. Most people know something about miles per gallon as it relates to the car they are driving. On the other hand, they have little concept of, or interest in, the forms and quantities of pollution coming out of their tail pipes.
To be fair, a lot has been done to reduce pollution produced by gas burning cars. The problem is that gas burning vehicles release their pollution where they are used. This is particularly objectionable in cities. Cars using electricity from coal burning plants have no emissions at the point of use. Improvements to coal burning plant emissions benefit all electric vehicles using electricity from that plant, with no changes to the vehicles, no matter how old they are.
I am often asked; Do you charge your car with electricity from a coal burning plant? Isn’t that just the same as driving a gasoline car? Plug-in vehicles will only increase pollution!
These questions and assertions published in newspapers as news (quotes by representatives of major auto manufacturers) and repeated by private citizens, create a very negative view of the Battery Electric Vehicle.
Yes, coal-burning plants generate electricity and produce pollution. But the notion that thousands of cars, burning gasoline, are more efficient at producing power and filtering their exhaust than large megawatt turbines is ridiculous.
All of this ignores the fact that, not all electric cars are charged with electricity from Coal burning plants. There are, and can be more, electric cars charged with renewable energy such as Photo Voltaic Cells and wind. As usual, Corporate America, for reasons beyond my comprehension, take the worst possible case, exaggerate it beyond reason and then use it to justify their lack of willingness to produce Electric Vehicles.
The facts are that Battery Electric vehicles:
- Reduce our dependence on foreign oil. This alone justifies their use.
- Reduce green house gasses to varying degrees, depending on the source of electricity.
- Clean our cities by removing the point of pollution from the point of vehicle use.
- Reduce the amount of pollution through efficiencies of scale or Renewable Energy.
The fact is that, as Electric Generation Technology improves, all Battery Electric vehicles benefit immediately without any modifications.
When speaking about the consumer view of a Battery Electric Vehicle, an auto industry representative has said “You’re giving me a vehicle that does less, (a limited vehicle} I want to pay less. “Unfortunately I can’t make it for less.””
Well, if you’re selling power and performance and you don’t care about the environment, perhaps a Battery Electric Vehicle is limited. But, what about the gasoline vehicle, is it without limitations? Why must a Battery Electric Vehicle be measured by the standard of a gasoline car? Is nothing else important?
The same could be said of a gasoline car compared to a Battery Electric vehicle. It does less or maybe more, . . . pollution. A gas burning vehicle does not measure up to the same standard. I say an automobile must meet power and performance requirements and at the same time produce zero emissions. The gas burning vehicle does not measure up to all aspects of this standard.