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Old 16th February 2012, 18:06   #1
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Default Electric cars cause more pollution than petrol ones! (Study)

While Browsing the web I came across this study:

"Though electric cars are heralded as an environment friendly solution in major cities, a study says their pollution levels are worse than petrol-powered vehicles.

Electric cars cause more pollution than petrol ones! (Study)-electriccarvsgasoline.jpg

A study on pollution in 34 Chinese cities found that electricity generated by power stations to drive electric vehicles leads to more fine particle emissions than petrol-powered cars."


The rest of the article can be read here.

Last edited by Furebo : 16th February 2012 at 18:08.
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Old 16th February 2012, 18:29   #2
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Default Re: Electric cars cause more pollution than petrol ones! (Study)

For long this is true. Especially in India, i would spend the every little bit of the amphere/hour to lit a rural house than to drive a car, in the west its different!
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Old 16th February 2012, 18:32   #3
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Default Re: Electric cars cause more pollution than petrol ones! (Study)

I havent read the article but can say that China today is not the ideal study subject. They have indiscriminately added coal fired power plants most of which might not be state of art by today's standards.
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Old 16th February 2012, 18:33   #4
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Default Re: Electric cars cause more pollution than petrol ones! (Study)

Quote:
Originally Posted by srishiva View Post
I havent read the article but can say that China today is not the ideal study subject. They have indiscriminately added coal fired power plants most of which might not be state of art by today's standards.
Right from China to the US coal is the most used fuel type for electrical generation with the exception of a few European nations. So this is still valid.
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Old 16th February 2012, 18:34   #5
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Default Re: Electric cars cause more pollution than petrol ones! (Study)

I remember a study i read sometime ago about prius being not environment friendly, it said the hybrid and EVs are affecting the environment more than the gas/diesel vehicles in the manufacturing phase itself.
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Old 16th February 2012, 18:35   #6
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Default Re: Electric cars cause more pollution than petrol ones! (Study)

Quote:
Originally Posted by man_and_machine View Post
Right from China to the US coal is the most used fuel type for electrical generation with the exception of a few European nations. So this is still valid.

The power plants used in China and US cant be compared. Even they have clean burning plants vs not so clean. Even in the U.S, they want to convert all existing ones into much cleaner ones going forward.
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Old 16th February 2012, 18:37   #7
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Default Re: Electric cars cause more pollution than petrol ones! (Study)

Quote:
Originally Posted by RIC.BURNS View Post
I remember a study i read sometime ago about prius being not environment friendly, it said the hybrid and EVs are affecting the environment more than the gas/diesel vehicles in the manufacturing phase itself.
Partially true, the process of production and disposal of the Li-ion battery creates a lot of pollution, and its a hazard, Just check the disposal manual for your mobile battery! Not sure on the Hybrids.
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Old 16th February 2012, 19:15   #8
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Default Re: Electric cars cause more pollution than petrol ones! (Study)

Strangely no one considers the pollution and emissions generated while drilling, refining and finally transporting the fuel used in petrol/diesel vehicles.
IMHO, all these studies should be taken with more than a grain of salt. The results and findings can always be tailored to favor whatever vested interest is sponsoring them.
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Old 16th February 2012, 19:57   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srishiva View Post
The power plants used in China and US cant be compared. Even they have clean burning plants vs not so clean. Even in the U.S, they want to convert all existing ones into much cleaner ones going forward.
I beg to dis-agree. Working in the power plant industry, I can tell you that more than 50 % of power produced in the world (expect Middle East) depends on coal for power generation. About 30 % depends on biomass and the rest is combination of nuclear, wind, solar, hydel and oil&gas.

Further, the major chunk of power generated in the middle east is on gas turbines with a closed cycle. The best efficiency possible on gas turbine based power plant is 70%.

The others which include pulverized coal fired and biomass fired have an efficiency of about 50%.

Only wind, solar, hydel are close to 95% efficient but, then again the load factor is very poor.

All fossil fuel based are equally polluting if not more that gasoline engines in our cars.

To make matters worse, power transportation is another area of loss. So, for ex: if I need to travel 100 km in a gasoline car, I may burn 6 to 8 litres of fuel with a total cycle efficiency of 45% but in-case of an electric car, to travel the same distant I am consuming power which has been generated through some power plant. To average it out, 60 % of the 100 km traveled has come from a power plant which is either coal fired or oil&gas fired and the balance is a combination of other sources plus the losses due to power transportation.
So to equate the power consumed in electric cars to litres for 100 km, it will consume about 10 litres.

Cheers

Quote:
Originally Posted by yosbert View Post
Strangely no one considers the pollution and emissions generated while drilling, refining and finally transporting the fuel used in petrol/diesel vehicles.
IMHO, all these studies should be taken with more than a grain of salt. The results and findings can always be tailored to favor whatever vested interest is sponsoring them.
Buddy, the same amount of pollution & emission generated are also present in manufacturing, erecting and commissioning a power plant. So, I suppose these aspects being present in both cases cancel each other.

Cheers

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Last edited by suhaas307 : 17th February 2012 at 00:11. Reason: See note in post :)
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Old 16th February 2012, 20:42   #10
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Default Re: Electric cars cause more pollution than petrol ones! (Study)

It is always cost vs pollution control efficiency. In the long run, it is cheaper to control the pollution from a coal fired power plant to the required level, than to control emissions in individual cars.
Enough pollution control technology is available for the coal fired plants, to control pollution to any desired level. The needed amount is not spent because governments want to keep power as cheap as possible.
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Old 16th February 2012, 20:47   #11
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Default Re: Electric cars cause more pollution than petrol ones! (Study)

Quote:
Originally Posted by pareshraheja View Post
Buddy, the same amount of pollution & emission generated are also present in manufacturing, erecting and commissioning a power plant. So, I suppose these aspects being present in both cases cancel each other.

Cheers
Not really. I was not talking about installing a new power plant, but rather about refining fuel (petrol/diesel) and then transporting that to your vehicle. In short the effects of actually producing and delivering the fuel to you. Because that is what we are considering when we consider the pollution in generating the electricity for the EV.
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Old 16th February 2012, 22:21   #12
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Default Re: Electric cars cause more pollution than petrol ones! (Study)

Quote:
Originally Posted by pareshraheja View Post

Only wind, solar, hydel are close to 95% efficient but, then again the load factor is very poor.


Cheers
If Solar was even half efficient as you mention, the world would have been a greener place already.

I know most of U.S power comes from coal. The recent advances enable very clean (relatively speaking) generation from coal. Chinese ones are not that clean. Hence the study done in China cannot be a model is all that I mean.
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Old 16th February 2012, 22:48   #13
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Default Re: Electric cars cause more pollution than petrol ones! (Study)

but then we are forgetting one thing. the power plants, be it coal based, can be commissioned far from cities (or civilization) then their polluting effect on the cities itself would be negligible. That cannot be said about the pollution from fumes emitted by gasoline based vehicles. it will get concentrated in the city and will harm millions of people. its especially true for densely populated areas like our metros and other big cities.

If you look at pollution in major cities like bangalore, its quite pathetic to live here now! electric vehicles, especially public transport system, is the only reasonable way forward till somehting more revolutionary comes.

Last edited by GTO : 17th February 2012 at 14:20. Reason: STRICTLY no SMS language please
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Old 17th February 2012, 00:07   #14
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Default Re: Electric cars cause more pollution than petrol ones! (Study)

The stats will provide a better picture why the E vehicles in India add more pain than gain. For the final BhP to be made available at the wheels we need to consider the losses of the energy from the source to the wheel. For a same Bhp/or kW in case of E-cars, start adding the losses backwards, Total energy = Brake Horse Power + bearing loss + friction loss at the transmission + (heat loss for petrol cars)/induction loss for E-cars + evaporation loss for petrol cars + battery drain loss for e-cars + Transportation loss for Fuel/transmission loss for electricity + evaporation loss for Fuel at loading / generation loss (in the generation loss + step up and voltage regulation loss + mechanical loss in the generation + heat transmission loss of the boiler process + turbine loss for generation + loss at pulverizing process of coal).

This is a simplified version of the model (the major losses are considered). Now consider the heat value of Coal and Petrol.

Butane 49,510
Coal 15,000 - 27,000

Meaning you will need to burn atleast 2 molecules of Coal for 1 molecule of Petrol to get the same energy. Now as coal is in solid form (how ever atomized)

Now look at the emissions (these are US number, where lets consider its the most efficient)

coal-fired generation are: 2,249 lbs/MWh of carbon dioxide, 13 lbs/MWh of sulfur dioxide, and 6 lbs/MWh of nitrogen oxides.

Fuel: 1135 lbs/MWh of carbon dioxide, 0.1 lbs/MWh of sulfur dioxide, and 1.7 lbs/MWh of nitrogen oxides

Again a factor of 2. Meaning for a 1 Joule of energy it takes 2 molecules of Coal and emits 2 times the pollution (irrespective of where, concentrated, out of city etc, it still gets into the atmosphere). Now this is true if the coal boiler + the generator + transmission + engine etc being in the car. But so is not the case.

In India (its hard to believe) the transmission loss is a wopping 40%!

(read: India’s Electricity Transmission and Distribution Losses Cleantech India)

So again if you approximate its a factor or 2 again considering the losses, again adding the generation (coal power to electricity loss) the factor will be close to 3 (mind these coal based powerplants are b/w 10 - 50 years old at times).

So if you sum it up all the factor of difference for 1 Joule of energy to be made available at the wheel its a 1: 6 factor for petrol v/s coal. Meaning e-cars are produce 6 times more pollution than petrol cars (considering today's reliance on coal for generation).

Now take india where 50% of India does not get electricity (homes, schools, hospitals in rural areas) its more socially acceptable to divert that 1 unit of electricity to such needs where there is no alternative than to run a car that has an alternative.

On the outlook it looks cheap (there are claims that it costs 40 paise per km for e-cars) but that is the cost of electricity being diverted only to urban users, while the villages suffer due to lack of it.

It puts an extra strain on the already big power deficit we have!

Pollution and social responsibility, e-cars in my view do not score over their traditional fuel counterparts atleast for a considerable time in India, unless the situation changes in the future!

Comments welcome!
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Old 17th February 2012, 00:16   #15
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Default Re: Electric cars cause more pollution than petrol ones! (Study)

Quote:
Originally Posted by joslicx View Post
electric vehicles, especially public transport system, is the only reasonable way forward till somehting more revolutionary comes.
And it has!



Honda's FCX Clarity is the way forward. Yes, it's not a finished product as yet, and the hydrogen-fuel-cell stations are yet to come up. But I expect this car to revolutionize eco-driving in say, 10-20 years.
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