Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dalton McGuinty Short-Circuits....

Dalton McGuinty announces that the government will give rebates (read free taxpayers money), from $4000 to $10,000 to consumers who purchase a plug-in electric vehicle. This is just so confusing on a number of fronts. Despite what McGuinty, Gore, Suzuki, Hansen and others preach about carbon emissions warming the planet, the earth's temperature has actually decreased by .74F. So to start with we can throw out the argument that not going electric will be the end of civilization. So let's look at a few problems or myths concerning the need for electrics.

1. The battery life in an electric or hybrid vehicle is 5-7 years. By offering a rebate to bring down the green car cost to that of a regular gas-powered vehicle, we are supposed to think we are lowering emissions. wrong! The nickel in those batteries is mined in Sudbury, causing ghg emissions. The unrefined nickel is then transported to be refined, again causing ghg emissions. Once refined, it is transported to the plant that manufactures the battery, causing more emissions. From there it is sent to the assembly plant, causing even more emissions. Spot the trend here?

2. Let's assume that a gas-powered vehicle and electric have the same life span, 5-7 years. At the end of that time a gas powered vehicle will see most of it's metal recycled. Any idea what to do with those batteries?

3. Electric vehicles might make sense in a warm climate, but somewhere like Canada you might want to have a heater blaring in the winter for warmth. Vehicle accessories require power, meaning a shorter distance can be travelled, or a gas generator can be used. That generator would cause ghg emissions if powered by fuel.

4. Ontario's energy grid has been allowed to degrade for years, so yes, let's add demand to it.

5. Ontario now owns a small portion of GM, which will be producing the Chevy Volt. I'm not sure but I think offering an incentive to buy a product in which the government is part-owner might piss off a few of the other manufacturers, ones that the province hopes to see increase production here. And I can see a complaint being filed to the WTO calling this a subsidy.

6. And this is the BIG ONE. Any product, regardless of what it is, should be able to survive and prosper on it's own merit. This supposed rebate smacks of Big Brother. If any company puts out an electric vehicle, that offers quality, reliability, safety, and is green friendly, then consumers will surely make the decision to purchase said product.

But McGuinty, Gore, and all the others, seem to think ramming all this touchy-feely green crap down our throats is what's best for us, and if it takes taxpayers dollars to do it all the better..


Cool Blue said...

1 - these are lithium batteries and don't contain nickle as far as I'm aware, but your main point is still correct, however no matter what you manufacture, the materials have to come from somewhere so this problem can't be avoided.

2. This is a problem that they are hoping to address with future technology improvements.

The flip side is that although you'll have to replace batteries, since EVs have fewer moving parts they will have less parts that break down and need to be replaced.

3. The Volt has a heating system for the batteries. When plugged in the car will warm itself. When not plugged in some energy will be used to keep the batteries warm and if the charge runs low the backup gasoline engine will recharge the batteries.

This is really not much different from current cars where we have to plug in block heater and battery warmers in the winter.

4. the increased demand will be minimal since most vehicles will be charged overnight when most energy in the grid goes to waste.

5. Good point. There are other manufacturers who will qualify for this subsidy though. For example Toyota is coming out with a plug in Prius next year and an electric Smartcar is planned as well.

6. agreed.

I'd love to own a Volt but I want to wait a few years to see if all the bugs have been worked out. People forget about the problems that the Prius had when it was first released.

Keep in mind that a lot of people like me are interested in EVs mainly due to reducing the costs of commuting. To me helping the environment is secondary.

paulsstuff said...

I love the look of the Volt, but it's repeated production delays are scary. I worked in vehicle manufacturing for 24 years, and the delays in the Volt are unheard of, although I believe part of the problem was with the battery manufacturers.

In regards to ev's, Chrysler probably has the best handle on them, with their first car to begin selling next year:

"Dodge ZEO

Named for Zero Emissions Operation, the Dodge ZEO is a four-passenger, all-electric 2+2 sport wagon.

Riding on a rear-wheel-drive platform, the ZEO is powered by a 200-kilowatt (268 horsepower) single-electric motor combined with a 64 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack that has of a range of at least 250 miles. Chrysler claims zero to 60 mph acceleration in less than 6 seconds.

Anonymous said...

this product isn't even made in Canada for Pete's sake.

Stupid idea for sure but where ARE the opposition on this??

Greg said...

I would disagree with Cool Blue's poiont on demand. Most will plug them in when they get home, ie at 5 - 6 pm, very high demand time. They could put in a timer so that charging takes place later, but that would assume a certain level of discipline most people don't have. If you think the cost of your commute will go down, it is only because electrical rates are subsidized, and that probably won't last under cap and trade pressures. The main point though, is that McGuinty thinks he is doing this for the environment, when in fact it will make things worse, making it harder to reduce coal generation if any significant number of people switch to electric. Most ideas coming from the environmental movement do net harm to the environment. If these people had brains, they would have a job.

Brian said...

A guy I worked with who had escaped Communist Hungary in the 60's had an appropriate saying ... " Everything government touches turns to ashes".

Government is not in the business ... and should not be in the business of choosing winners and losers.

In this case McGuinty is choosing a loser , and worse , this could backfire as there are potential international trade implications.

GM should have been left to go into bankruptcy without government funding , but since interventionist Obama forced the issue , we have been sucked in as well.

Now that McGuinty and taxpayers have an equity position in GM , interventionists like McGuinty will be unable to stand back.

NorthWestTory said...

Based on your first reason, your point is that that nickel battery, and all the rest of the car should be made in one place.

NorthWestTory said...

Based on your first reason, your point is that that nickel battery, and all the rest of the car should be made in one place.

Anonymous said...

Le's see.

Take Ontario taxpayers money and give it to people who buy cars that are not made in Ontario.

On so many levels.