Thursday, February 2, 2023

MENU

The dilemma of electrical vehicle power

The past two years have been a time of explosive growth in the exploration and development of everything electric. All forms of transportation from bicycles to aircraft have undergone re-engineering to create rechargeable electric-powered analogs to petroleum-fueled legacy vehicles. The RV industry lags in this technology, but manufacturers are working on it.

A prominent factor in the popular interest in and acceptance of the concept of electric vehicles has been the success of the Tesla automobile. There are now thousands of Teslas on the road, and all legacy manufacturers have entered the field to produce electric vehicles (“EVs”). Tesla recently introduced a commercial EV semi-tractor that incorporates a massive battery pack 1,000 kWh of power capacity. That will take a lot of charging.

How to recharge the batteries of EVs?

An entire industry has arisen around the need to recharge the batteries of EVs. The most ambitious of these seek to maximize and leverage solar power but, so far, the limits of solar power generation preclude meeting the demand for electric power to recharge EV batteries. In any event, the process of charging with solar is problematically slow, and is unreliable in all but the sunniest of climates. Consequently, EV charging stations are often powered by legacy petroleum-fueled technologies, such as coal-fired electric power plants or diesel generators. It has not gone unnoticed that such charging systems defeat the purpose of “clean” electric-powered vehicles.

Chuck Justus, president of Evergreen Mobile Power based in St. Louis, Missouri, wrote in the December 5, 2022, issue of Butane-Propane News:

To save money, you are going to burn diesel fuel in a generator rather than the tractor? Does that save carbon emissions? Well, that doesn’t really add up to me either. My response to this scenario is that there is no bigger hypocrisy than to charge a battery off a diesel engine. You see it already on social media. There’s a remote vehicle charging station located in “Nowhereville USA.” The cellphone video shows the electric cars charging up and then pans around the corner to show a dirty diesel engine chugging away in the name of cleaner cars. It gets millions of views and is shared around the world in minutes flat. It is truly counterproductive—a classic “cart-before-the-horse” situation.

Propane could serve as a bridge to a greener, more efficient electric generation for eRVs and other electric vehicles.

Propane, a fuel derived through the process of natural gas production, is a cleaner alternative to gasoline and diesel. The propane fuel industry claims that Liquid Propane Gas (LPG) emits 72 percent less sulfur oxide emissions than diesel, 31 percent less nitrogen oxide, and 17 percent less greenhouse gas. LPG as an alternative represents an improvement over other petroleum products for cleaner electric generation.

Fossil fuels are still the source of most of the energy in the U.S.

Despite the hype surrounding electric vehicles and the laudable gains made in producing and using cleaner fuels, fossil fuels are still the source of most of the energy generated and used in the U.S. Approximately 35 percent of the energy consumed in America is derived from petroleum. More than three-fourths of U.S. energy production is from fossil fuels, i.e., coal-fired electrical plants produce 17.8 percent of the total; 31.8 percent is produced from natural gas. Nuclear power, which once held the promise of limitless low-cost energy, supplies a mere 9.6 percent. Renewable energy from hydroelectric dams, biomass, geothermal, wind and solar, only 12.7 percent.

Two recent developments, the purported breakthrough in the science of energy derived from fusion, and the rapid advances being made using hydrogen fuel in transportation, show promise for an energy future probably still some years on the horizon.

A successful large-scale conversion of transportation to renewable “green” energy will require the convergence of technologies that are involved in the generation of power, the practical onboard storage of energy (e.g., higher capacity, lighter storage batteries), the reduction of the massive weight and impaired efficiencies of the vehicles themselves, along with the mitigation of cost and environmental impacts associated with the generation of the energy necessary to propel them.

##RVT1083b

 

Advertisement/Affiliate

If you value what you learn from RVtravel.com, would you please consider becoming a voluntary subscriber by pledging your support? Every contribution, no matter how modest, helps us serve you better. Thank youLearn more here.

Facebook Groups you might like
RVing with Dogs
RV Tech Tips
RV Advice
Towing Behind a Motorhome
RVing Over 70
. . . and the official RVtravel.com Facebook page

Winterizing your RV this season? Amazon has a wide choice of RV antifreeze.

Comments

3.2 9 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe to comments
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

43 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bill W
1 month ago

Approximately 35 percent of the energy consumed in America is derived from petroleum. More than three-fourths of U.S. energy production is from fossil fuels,…”

Which is it? The author needs to do a little more research before publishing.
  

James Roberts
1 month ago

Statistics on electric production in US are incorrect. Nuclear power provides about 20% A EV can derive about 50% of its electricy needs from green energy production on average.

Bill W
1 month ago
Reply to  James Roberts
Maurizio Taglianini
1 month ago

Not just California/Tesla, I think there is already a European state – Norway where they already have more EVs than ICEs and they are fuelled by clean hydro-power not polluting oil/gas bought from Russia or Middle East.

Chuck
1 month ago

That was a beautifully composed and well sourced article. It formed little opinion either way on the issue at hand and was tremendously informative without getting into the weeds. 10% nuclear, 80% carbon, 10% other.

Now for the weeds. If our politicians had any moral compasses, they could make that change in under 25 years but without the issue, they become unimportant. If the voters who vote them in had some facts instead of bumper sticker slogans, we would be 90% nuclear and 10% other by now. Instead, we are currently at under 10% nuclear as stated in that well sourced article. It won’t be any better in 25 years but the political cottage industry of “fear” will be thriving.

Walt
1 month ago

What becomes of the volatiles in crude oil? The world still needs crude oil for the production of asphalt that the EV’s will drive on. The production of tires requires crude oil as do countless other products. Eighty percent of a barrel of crude oil goes into the manufacture of gasoline and diesel while the remaining twenty percent is used for the manufacture of other products. Stop using gasoline and diesel and that eighty percent will become a waste product that must be dealt with resulting in greatly increasing the cost of other essential products made from crude oil.

Chuck
1 month ago
Reply to  Walt

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

The carpeting in the EV. The dashboard in the EV. The steering wheel, the shifter, the fake leather trim, the paint on the outside, the electrical casings, the windshield and the charging port. ALL MADE FROM SATAN’S OIL. Break out the wooden wheeled buggies.

KellyR
1 month ago
Reply to  Walt

My thought has been: IF we no longer need gasoline or diesel, will it still be profitable for oil companies to drill for crude? If not, I guess we will be happy that we will no longer have plastic bags or bottles on this earth anymore, BUT everything else we own has plastic in it. Will that require enough oil to make drilling profitable? It seems that drilling for fuel has made all these other thing possible. No more pollution but plastic at $100 a gallon?? “How much plastic is in YOUR RV?”

Chuck
1 month ago
Reply to  KellyR

We will always need gasoline and diesel. At least for the next hundred years or so. Does anyone really want the firetruck or ambulance powered by solar electric charged batteries. Back to the airtravel piece of the puzzle, jet fuel is a petroleum product. You can’t move a 747 ten feet on a runway using self contained battery power let alone get it off the ground for a a 22 hour flight across the Pacific. Just sayin.

KellyR
1 month ago
Reply to  Chuck

Firetrucks & Ambulance – right, we don’t need them when the power goes out, do we?. I was thinking maybe I should start hoarding plastic as it could become antique. Seriously, not that very long ago that jet carrying lith-ion batteries exploded and crashed in the Everglades because of the batteries they were transporting. I’m not ready for lith=ion storage yet. I’ll put up with a little battery acid eating holes in my pants legs for a little longer. lol

Chuck
1 month ago
Reply to  KellyR

Not to mention the war machine. Tanks, trucks, transports, humvees, you name it, no military except the loser will ever go into battle in an electric contraption. Not even if they are each towning a diesel generator behind the tank to recharge. We will be drilling for oil in the year 2112. All the passenger vehicles will be electric or fusion or something else but armies will be gas and diesel. Drill baby drill.

MattD
1 month ago

Randall Brink, “practical onboard storage’. I’ve been saying this for years. We HAVE to find a breakthrough in electrical energy storage before EV’s are feasible and common place.

Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  MattD

Google a NPR report, how the U.S. gave away a breakthrough battery Technology to China dated August 3, 2022.

MattD
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

Thank you for that! Very interesting article, although my head was about to explode because the Vanadium Redox Flow technology was given to the Chinese…but it looks like Forever Energy plans to open an manuf’g plant next year, if we can retain a license…

Last edited 1 month ago by MattD
Richard
1 month ago

Power grids are going down everywhere. Restrictions on usage are increasing. Adding the load of EVs is ludicrous. Especially when they don’t meet our needs. Grifters/politicians and con artists are driving us into dependence on public transportation, controlling our movements. Smoke and mirrors.

Mike
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

I agree with you Richard.

B N S
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

Agreed, Richard…. Wake Up Americans!

KellyR
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

“dependence on public transportation, controlling our movements.” Yep Richard, and when you use your credit card to get on the public transportation, your movements will not only be controlled but Walmart and your bank will know where you went.

Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

I am a retired electrical engineer that worked in power production and also power delivery for 40+ years. When working in power delivery I would sit in on yearly conferences with the local municipality’s planners and designers to talk future population growth, new schools and additions to existing hospitals, restaurants, shopping and other business that come along with population growth. We and other utilities need this information years ahead to budget our infrastructure dollars to install new lines, substations and etc. before construction starts. talking with my past colleagues I can say that EV usage only came up about 5 years ago but the demand is well ahead of dollars.

Robin Deane
1 month ago

Sorry for this being so long winded, but here are my thoughts:
Although I like the concept of a purely electric vehicle, I won’t have one until the charging network is more widespread. Until then I’ll stay with a hybrid car. I use less gas and generate the electric power from within.
However, I think that even though EVs are charged with conventional power generation methods, the environmental damage done from generating a full charge to the EV is less than the amount of damage from burning a full tank of gas. I may be wrong, but nobody has yet shown me data to the contrary .
The transition from ICE engines to EVs is incremental, but the improvements to the environment during the transition are not insignificant. We are still making progress and will get to a point where we can be free of fossil fuels for most passenger vehicles and a large segment of commercial vehicles as well.
It’s not the whole enchilada yet, but we’re getting tasty bites along the way.

Maurizio Taglianini
1 month ago
Reply to  Robin Deane

Thank you Robin for caring about our planet… less revolution more evolution 🙂

Chuck
1 month ago
Reply to  Robin Deane

Robin, you are the one making the assertion. Why is it up to others to disprove your statement. You make the statement so cite your source and your data. 1 tank of gasoline versus a full charge on an EV. Is it a coal powered EV charge? hydro, solar, wind, lpg, lng, or unicorn farts?
You made the statement so back it up, if you can. Sorry Maurizio.

Ronnie Bolling
1 month ago

Here are some relevant facts:
The broader fossil fuels-vs.-renewables saga is also playing out on the world stage, with clean energy making gains, according to the International Energy Agency’s annual analysis of renewables released this month. The world will grow its renewable energy capacity in the next five years by 30 percent more than the agency projected last year, according to the report.
China, the European Union, the United States and India are driving the accelerated growth, most of which is coming from wind and solar power. Renewables are expected to become the largest source of global electricity generation by 2025, and solar is expected to surpass coal as the world’s largest power source by 2027, the report said:

https://www.iea.org/reports/renewables-2022/executive-summary

Maurizio Taglianini
1 month ago
Reply to  Ronnie Bolling

Thank you Ronnie for caring about our planet 🙂

Chuck
1 month ago

Thank you everyone who has contributed here, for caring about our planet. Just because some peiple don’t buy into the green fantasy does not mean they don’t care. In fact, they probably care more because they are being “real” instead of crossing their fingers and pretending that solar and wind are the answers. If we can’t admit it is a problem we will never find the solution. Hopes and dreams are not solutions.

Chuck
1 month ago
Reply to  Ronnie Bolling

Are you a betting man?

Tommy Molnar
1 month ago

If propane is a good idea, then natural gas is even better. Propane has to be transferred from tank to tank, and it’s expensive. For those of us who have access to natural gas, THAT is a much better alternative.

J h
1 month ago

What happens in the northern half of the United States where we lose power? How are we going to charge our vehicles when we lose power. I live in Wisconsin where are first snowfall of the year consistent of rain and snow mixtures. Trees were down because of the rain and snow was wet and heavy causing power outages. If Wisconsin bans generators we will have no way of charging our vehicles until the power comes on. Maybe I should buy a generator that will power my house when the power goes out.

Crowman
1 month ago
Reply to  J h

If you had a 2,000 watt generator trying to charge an average EV it would take 30 DAYS to complete the charging. See Mike’s columns on that.

Glenn A
1 month ago

I have nothing against electric cars. But when Switzerland, the country with the most electric cars percapita, warns of having to limit electric car use to only essential trips this winter it’s time to take notice.

Maurizio Taglianini
1 month ago
Reply to  Glenn A

Thank you Glenn, do we know why?

Chuck
1 month ago

Yes, and thank you Maurizio. When Gavin Newsom warns us to not charge your electric vehicles this past summer lest we have black outs, it makes you wonder why we would elect a manchild with dreams of unicorns on treadmills powering our once great nation. and rainbows.

Bob p
1 month ago

I will guesstimate this will take place between 2045 and 2050, long after I’m pushing up dandelions.

tom
1 month ago

Saw an estimate that California needs about 100 new nuclear power stations to meet the needs for power. California is politically dead set against this need. Suffer in the Dark.
France did it correctly, most of their power is nuclear coming from about 40 plants that share common design factors. not 40 different designs.

Bob p
1 month ago
Reply to  tom

I’ve said in the past CA is a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there, now I don’t even want to visit! It’s like a communist country.

Richard
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob p

Amen.

B N S
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob p

Many SO Agree With You Bob P !

Spike
1 month ago
Reply to  tom

Earthquakes in France are extremely rare…extremely common in Cali.

Just watched a program last night on the potential for the “big one” in Cali in the very near future. Based on geological historical data it is overdue. The program covered Cali’s one remaining nuclear plant which, through lies and deception of the power company regarding proximity to faults, was not built to withstand much quake activity. It was to be decommissioned but with Cali’s power infrastructure deficiencies it is being extended. When a quake of sufficient magnitude happens, this plant will be a nuclear disaster like Japan’s.

Seann Fox
1 month ago

I have been asking for a long time where is all this mythical electricity going to come from?

Bob p
1 month ago
Reply to  Seann Fox

That’s easy our president says “everybody knows electricity comes out of the wall”.

Dan
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob p

More holes in a different wall.

KellyR
1 month ago
Reply to  Seann Fox

Hmmm, I haven’t heard of anyone trying to capture lightening yet, I live in the lightening capitol of the US. How tall of a pole do I need to put up? Think I will research Ben Franklin’s findings.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Every Saturday and Sunday morning. Serving RVers for more than 20 years.