President Obama wants to cut U.S. oil imports by a third over 10 years. The U.S. has lurched from different transportation energy policies in the past several years, favoring fuel cells and then biofuels and now electrification and hydrogen.
How far electrification will go is still unclear. Electric vehicles will reduce green house gases and dependence on foreign oil say advocates. Wind and solar is expected to provide a large percent of of grid electricity which is under-used in the evening, when most vehicles might charge up.
About 60 percent of all oil is used for transportation, and that’s a sector expected to see incredible change with electric vehicles, says Bloomberg and potentially eliminating the need for 11.6 million barrels of oil a day.
Coal-fired power plants are one of the largest contributors to global warming and fossil fuel burning cars are the other. Electric vehicles could kill two birds with one stone.
San Diego, Seattle, Portland, LA, Riverside, San Francisco, and Atlanta have an EV uptake between 2 and 7 times higher than the countrywide average.
According to Global Atmospeheric Research (2000), 14% of annual greenhouse gas emission is caused by transportation. Transport is also a source of emissions which have an impact on air quality. The largest sources of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions include passenger cars and light-duty trucks.
Each gallon of gas your car burns releases about 19 pounds of carbon dioxide. How is that possible if a gallon of gasoline weighs about 6 pounds?
When the hydrocarbons burn, they break apart and recombine with the air. This reaction produces heat, as well as two chemical byproducts: water and carbon dioxide. The eight molecules of CO2 weigh about three times more than the one molecule of octane you started with. The weight of the oxygen from the air is added to the weight of the carbon from the gasoline.
Oregon is coordinating many activities to facilitate successful, widespread deployment of plug-in vehicles, reports the Department of Energy. In 2004, Oregon’s strategy for greenhouse gas reduction report showed that motor vehicles accounted for more than one-third of Oregon’s GHG emissions.
There are 40 companies building either electric vehicles or component parts, says Drive Oregon. Oregon-made electric vehicles include Arcimoto Brammo, Ryno Motors, Green Lite Motors, MotoCzysz as well as EV Charging Station manufacturers Shorepower and Optimization Technologies. Charging overnight, at non-peak times, helps balance demands on the grid and grid energy storage may help demand spikes.
Ryno Motors was conceived by inventor Chris Hoffmann’s daughter. She envisioned a Starwar’s like scooter with a single wheel. Hoffmann built it, and hopes his Vancouver, Washington, start-up will change urban transportation.
Since 2009, the DOE has invested more than $5 billion in grants and loans to spur the growth of the U.S.’ electric-vehicle and advanced battery manufacturing industry. Under the Transportation Electrification Initiative (TEI), which received $400 million under ARRA, the federal government hopes to assist in deploying over 22,000 charging points in residential, commercial, and public locations nationwide by December 2013. President Obama has set an ambitious goal of putting 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. Today, that number is essentially zero.
Ashland-based Brammo aiming at $1B-plus IPO. In addition to designing electric motorcycles, which it manufactures in partnership with Flextronics, Brammo intends to also market its battery technology — to Polaris and others — for other applications.
Sales of electric vehicles in the United States (above) is expected to grow dramatically in the next 10-20 years, even under conservative scenarios, says a Berkeley study.
But small, under-the-radar electric car companies, face big competition, say industry observers. Think, a Norway-based automaker that makes the two-seat electric car, for example, had battery maker Ener1, which held a 31-percent equity stake, bail on their relatively expensive vehicle.
CT&T United, the world’s largest manufacturer of battery electric vehicles, announced plans to hire hundreds of Americans in new factories in Hawaii, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. But the South Korean electric car and golf cart manufacturer has apparently abandoned that pledge — without notice — amid financial difficulties.
Practically speaking, payoff for efficient cars takes years, figures the NY Times. Currently, you have to save a lot of gas to make up the difference in cost. Cheaper batteries and more expensive gas changes the equation.
With a 30-mpg gasoline car, assuming $3.50 per gallon of gasoline, the expense for a 50-mile trip would be $5.83. Assuming a rate of 12 cents per kilowatt-hour (kwh), the cost to drive the all-electric Leaf 50 miles would be $1.80.
The Nissan Leaf, an all electric car, Chevrolet Volt and Ford’s Focus Electric are popular in Portland. Plug-in hybrids have much smaller batteries, running perhaps 10-40 miles on electricity before using a gas engine.
Chevrolet’s Volt (right) is a variant of a plug-in hybrid, in that it goes about 40 miles on batteries and can be plugged in at night. It doesn’t switch to gas drive train like the Prius. Instead, the Volt’s gas motor drives an electric generator for the car. The best selling Toyota Prius uses a conventional gas engine but runs on a small battery for the first 4-6 miles. The plug-in hybrid Prius has a bigger battery with a 12 mile range. Batteries can be recharged by plugging them in. That’s cheaper than using the car’s gas-powered generator to charge them up. Zip Car in Oregon is now offering two plug-in Prius cars for $8/hr.
Ford named Portland as one of the 25 best cities for electric cars. Ford is gearing up to launch the all-new Focus Electric later this year and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid in 2012.
Both the ground breaking Nissan Leaf and the eStar will be limited to a 100 mile range on their Lithium Ion batteries. The Leaf runs only on batteries. When it’s out of juice, it’s dead. The Nissan Leaf costs $33,000 (before rebates), and has been described as a $16,500 subcompact car that costs double that thanks to a battery estimated to cost $16,500. The Navistar eStar, an electric truck, will sell for $150,000 and totes a battery estimated to cost nearly $75,000.
About 25% of Ford’s fleet will be electrified by 2020, up from just a couple percent today, says CEO Bill Ford. But the price of oil is hard to predict, so Ford is investing in hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and pure electrics.
Car2Go has added 30 all-electric SmartForTwo cars to its Portland-area fleet. Two of the newest models include all-electric versions of the Chevy Spark and Honda Fit subcompacts. California is the only other state where they are available.
The CHADdeMO fast charging standard works with Nissan’s Leaf and Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV. But if you own a Tesla Model S, you’ll use Tesla’s own proprietary Supercharger arrangement, and the countrywide charging stations that come with it.