Our Hybrid and Elecric Car Future?

Our Hybrid and Electric Car Future?

Climate Activists want us to phase out new diesel and gas automotive vehicles by 2035. How easy or likely is that?

Governor Brown has a goal of 5 million plug-in electrics by 2030.  There are currently 370,000 in California.  Next 10 has estimated that 3.9 million PEVs would add 15.5 GWh (gigawatthours) of energy a year, or 5% of California’s current usage.  In 2016, there were 14.8 million registered cars in California.  Scaling up, this would increase current energy generation by 19%, or 15.9 GWh per year.

Since California plans to convert its electricity production to all renewables by 2045, having all cars electric will create an additional drive to increase renewable electricity projects.

Also, you have to charge them during the daytime when solar energy is available, requiring chargers for all employees, businesses, malls, schools, parking meters, restaurants, etc. The car batteries can then run households at night, since hydro and geothermal sources may be insufficient. There is no need to build massive utility batteries, since the car batteries may suffice in most instances.

The fact that we use natural gas for heating, running dryers, and maybe cooking, will also require more electricity to replace these with electrical appliances. Natural gas produces CO2 on a molecule to molecule basis.

The Rhodium Group estimates that just 8% of US small vehicles will be zero emission by 2025. US car purchases at present are only 1% electric, while California’s are 5%. If we stop new gas vehicle manufacturing by 2035, we will have phased them all out by 2050.

Clearly, climate activists have a lot of convincing to do to get people to convert to electric vehicles in the next 16 years. 16 years represents four new Gubernatorial terms, and four new Presidential terms (2020, 2024, 2028, and 2032). Clearly, we have to be very careful who we vote for. No used car salesmen, who want to turn back the mileage.

In the mean time, hybrids can be found for all types of cars. Their mpg of about 50 will use only half the gas of present cars which average around 25 mpg. You don’t have to remember to plug them in at night. Your neighborhood doesn’t have to be rewired to charge two or more of them. You don’t have to worry about the range. You don’t have to fret at present charging them with fossil fuel energy at night.

Of course, you can already double, triple, or quadruple your per capita mpg even with a gas guzzler by carpooling. And carpooling in an electric car gives you astronomical per capita mpg.

Hybrid electric vehicle sales vary with the price of gas, the economy, and CAFE standards. Although there are now more than 60 models available, the Toyota Prius has a firm lead, followed by the Toyota Camry. The recent peak in 2013 had 450,000 hybrids sold, with 145,000, or about a third, being Toyota Prius’s. The most recent year at hybridcars.com was 2015, with sales of 346,000, and Prius’s selling 114,000, or again about a third.

In a good economic year, about 15 million light vehicles are sold. In 2013 with a total of 14.37 million sold, cars were 7.73 million (54%), SUVs 4.55 million (32%), pickups 1.53 million (11%), and vans 0.57 million (0.4%). This is from the Alternative Fuels Data Center of the Department of Energy, afdc.energy.gov. So, typically, about 3% of US vehicles sold are hybrids.

The average US commute to work is 25.5 minutes, and, by state, runs from 17 minutes to 32 minutes.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
This entry was posted in Autos, Clean Energy, Electric Cars, Electric Power, Energy Efficiency, Fossil Fuel Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Hybrid Cars, Mayor's Climate Action Plan, Paris Climate Agreement, Renewable Energy. Bookmark the permalink.

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