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Old 25th January 2016, 15:57   #1
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Default Impact of charging devices via USB on FE and emissions

Given how commonplace USB slots have become in cars, here's an interesting article that talks about the impact charging devices through the USB port has on the FE and hence, consequently on the CO2 emissions.

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The number of vehicles sold in the U.S. with USB charge ports rose to about 14.6 million last year from about 3.3 million in 2005, the first year they were available, and is projected to climb to 16.7 million by 2022, according to a forecast from the consulting firm IHS. Global sales of vehicles with USB ports will increase to 85 million in 2022 from about 49 million last year
The article states that charging one smartphone in a car will result in a FE loss on average of 0.03 mpg which translates to 0.013 km/l.

This obviously doesn't look that bad but given how rampant it already is to charge devices in the car, even this small, insignificant no. will certainly add up.

Here's the environmental impact:

Quote:
The estimated extra CO2 created by plugging in one phone in every car in the U.S. would be about the same as that produced by 185,257 passenger vehicles in one year, according to an Environmental Protection Agency website that converts greenhouse gas into real-world equivalents. Put another way, thatís the pollution created by burning 945 million pounds of coal.

By far, the cheapest way to charge a smartphone is at home, Bereisa said. With gasoline at $2 a gallon, it costs about 2 cents an hour to charge a phone in a car compared with about 0.06 cent at home, or 33 times less. Gasoline would have to fall to 6 cents a gallon to compete with home electricity, he said. It would also produce about half the carbon dioxide.
Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articl...e-as-you-think
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Old 25th January 2016, 17:31   #2
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Default Re: Impact of charging devices via USB on FE and emissions

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Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
.....even this small, insignificant no. will certainly add up......
+1.


That's true for everything. We tend to ignore and dismiss the 'small' stuff that 'couldn't matter much' until someone adds everything up and the resultant reaction can be summed up with
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Old 26th January 2016, 12:38   #3
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Default Re: Impact of charging devices via USB on FE and emissions

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Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
The article states that charging one smartphone in a car will result in a FE loss on average of 0.03 mpg which translates to 0.013 km/l.
Oh come on! This is a seriously useless piece of research.

If advice has to be given to drivers, then it should be in areas that have stronger impact on FE & emissions - maintaining the right tyre pressure, best driving practices etc. Then, there's the topics of car pooling & using public transportation.

But not charging your phone via USB because of a 0.013 km/l impact is ridiculous, especially in today's cars loaded with electronics that anyway consume more power. We don't even calculate FE down to the 3rd decimal!

What next? Don't use your power windows? Don't turn on your headlamps until it's completely dark? Don't use the turn indicators & wipers unless absolutely critical?
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Old 26th January 2016, 13:23   #4
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Default Re: Impact of charging devices via USB on FE and emissions

But seriously! Don't these guys have better things to research?

If a mobile charger drawing 5W/0.4A makes a difference what about all the other electronic gizmos in the car? The biggest of which is the ICE system? I guess they'll recommend removing them to lower emissions and protect the planet And yeah listen to music at home because it's cheaper and probably safer too as there's one less distraction for the driver.
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Old 26th January 2016, 15:57   #5
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Default Re: Impact of charging devices via USB on FE and emissions

Wow this information really opened my eyes. But Seriously would it make sense not charging your phone in your car. Obviously if you calculate it at that large spectrum then yes everything would have an effect. I would rather ignore this piece of information, still continue to charge my phones and pay more attention on other things that really benefit in saving fuel and give the best mileage. Instead why doesn't everyone just loose a few pounds in their weight, doesn't the weight also affect the consumption.Also charging your phone in your car vs charging it at home from a wall socket would probably create the same issue.
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Old 26th January 2016, 16:26   #6
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Default Re: Impact of charging devices via USB on FE and emissions

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Oh come on! This is a seriously useless piece of research.
..
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Originally Posted by R2D2 View Post
But seriously! Don't these guys have better things to research?
...
Seriously. One wrong route choice and life time savings gone!

This piece from US where car sizes are twice that of say India, is funny!
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Old 26th January 2016, 16:52   #7
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Default Re: Impact of charging devices via USB on FE and emissions

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
......a 0.013 km/l impact is ridiculous
Ridiculous at an 'individual' level, sure. But given how many we are, the ridiculous bits add up to a significant number.


Quote:
especially in today's cars loaded with electronics that anyway consume more power
We're too obsessed with energy-efficient propulsion systems alone, all the while loading up cars with more and more energy-hogging features. Though the systems arguably are energy-efficient individually (compared to similar devices using yesteryear tech), the end result is increased energy consumption overall.

Imagine this: A dollar saved per person per year is ~$0.003 per day, third decimal number and too insignificant to mention but multiply that by the earth's population and you've got a number that could pay for running a small nation for a year.

Agreed that there are better things to focus on that can bring bigger results, but a drop counts as much as a gallon in making up an ocean.

My $0.02.

P.S. I use a car charger myself, heck I even have one in my new-age scooter's boot.

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 26th January 2016 at 17:00. Reason: Grammar
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Old 26th January 2016, 17:53   #8
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Default Re: Impact of charging devices via USB on FE and emissions

My Linea car's manual has a mention that usage of electronic items incl. ICE, Power windows, AC, Lights, etc. would impact the mileage and advised to use them judiciously.

But this research is really stretching the point too far.

Parallels come to mind the money collected in the name of cooling charges for milk packets, cold drinks, liquor, etc. which I believe must be adding up to a huge amount daily but as a percentage it's a far more significant than this 3rd decimal statistics.

Won't it be more meaningful if the savings of the electricity bill by charging the mobile by car are deducted from this amount.
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Old 26th January 2016, 18:25   #9
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Default Re: Impact of charging devices via USB on FE and emissions

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Originally Posted by Chetan_Rao View Post
Ridiculous at an 'individual' level, sure. But given how many we are, the ridiculous bits add up to a significant number.
Since the article is written in US context. I find it a perfect example for 'penny wise pound foolish'.

- You have gas guzzlers, and to top that with only one person travelling for most of the miles.
- Carpooling is an alien vocabulary.
- Over use of air conditioner.
- Power hungry head units.

These are just few things I can quote in terms of energy abuse or loss of fuel efficiency, whichever way you want to take it. And yet, the target of the article is 'dont charge smartphones in your car' ? That is why it is ridiculous.

In the 2 years I had a car, I hardly used the car charger of my phone once. Reason: It was notoriously slow to charge as opposed to wall charger. But I found the power input highly useful for the GPS (both in Indian and US context). For whatever juice it had consumed, it has saved quite a lot of fuel by providing precise directions when required.

Finally that bit about Chrysler Pacifica getting 9 USB ports is amusing, I wonder how many Pacifica owners ever get to use all the ports in its lifetime with them
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Old 26th January 2016, 22:08   #10
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Default Re: Impact of charging devices via USB on FE and emissions

Would be better if we talk about its effect on the battery, esp with devices like car inverter/ laptop chargers.

Regards.
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Old 27th January 2016, 00:29   #11
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Default Re: Impact of charging devices via USB on FE and emissions

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Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
Would be better if we talk about its effect on the battery, esp with devices like car inverter/ laptop chargers.
When the engine is running the alternator supplies the power to all circuits. It's only when the engine is off that the battery takes over. What impact will this small 0.4A drain have on the battery when people are known to run ICE systems with the engine off.
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Old 27th January 2016, 09:25   #12
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Default Re: Impact of charging devices via USB on FE and emissions

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Originally Posted by R2D2 View Post
When the engine is running the alternator supplies the power to all circuits. It's only when the engine is off that the battery takes over. What impact will this small 0.4A drain have on the battery when people are known to run ICE systems with the engine off.
For sure I would not mind the negligible load of a cell phone charger (have been using them for more than 5-6 years now, but what I meant that devices like car inverters which convert the DC to 220V AC/ ~ 200W for laptop charging, etc. may put the battery at a higher load. In fact, I was considering one of those devices for long runs, but have held my decision until I get some clear info about them.

Regards,
Saket
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Old 27th January 2016, 12:23   #13
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Default Re: Impact of charging devices via USB on FE and emissions

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Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
For sure I would not mind the negligible load of a cell phone charger (have been using them for more than 5-6 years now, but what I meant that devices like car inverters which convert the DC to 220V AC/ ~ 200W for laptop charging, etc. may put the battery at a higher load. In fact, I was considering one of those devices for long runs, but have held my decision until I get some clear info about them.
All inverters have built in efficiency values that's why they're rated in VA. For e.g. a model with a 200W output will draw about 250W (at peak load) assuming it is about 80% efficient. 250W on the alternator means a current draw of about 21A at a nominal voltage of 12VDC. One of the reasons why these inverters are plugged into the cigarette lighter socket. That circuit can take a reasonably heavy load with the wiring and fuse appropriately sized. But AFAIK it is not 25A but around 10-12A. My car's cigarette lighter fuse is 15A and would blow if I connected a car inverter at ran it at full load.

So, if this American researcher considered the impact of car phone chargers on the fuel efficiency and made a fuss about it, he should look at other car electronic devices like music systems, entertainment cum navigation units etc which draw power that is way higher than the poor old 4W car charger. I don't consider ECU/braking/safety systems and other critical automobile electronics in this bracket because they are essential to run the car.

All car manufacturers recommend minimising electrical loads to maximise fuel economy. But very few heed that advice. Nearly all of us have aftermarket electrical accessories running off that alternator and/or battery impacting FE no matter how insignificantly.

IMHO this research is nothing but a storm in a tea cup.

Last edited by R2D2 : 27th January 2016 at 12:24.
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Old 27th January 2016, 15:36   #14
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Default Re: Impact of charging devices via USB on FE and emissions

Talking about FE and informed judicious usage, how many of us use the car wiper the way its supposed to be used.

Not using the wiper speed settings, Higher speed of wipe for small sprinkles, use of wiper when there is no rain but wet WS... I believe it is a greater source of leak.

Anyways good to know the impact!
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Old 27th January 2016, 16:13   #15
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Default Re: Impact of charging devices via USB on FE and emissions

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Oh come on! This is a seriously useless piece of research.
. Though I would not dismiss this as useless, this was unwarranted. If this is the case, then I cannot plug in my dashcam, ICE even for the matter use my power windows.

Its just that, the famed toothless EPA should spend more time in making realistic research that is beneficial such as reduction in carbon output by biodiesel and blended fuel system and push governments to implement at large scale.

They are doing research such as how much time its gonna take me to bicycle from earth to moon, which is good for thoughts, but senseless in reality.
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