Saturday, March 20, 2021

Close Your Eyes and Tap Your Heels Three Times...

 There was a time when General Motors was the world's largest automotive manufacturer.  That was then, this is now, and now Toyota is the world's largest, including here in the United States.  And as the world's largest, I suspect they know a thing or two about the automotive market.  In the article at PJ Media by Bryan Preston, Toyota Warns (Again) About electrifying All Autos. Is Anyone Listening?. Toyota, a company that introduced the Prius hybrid vehicle , warns that there is simply not enough infrastructure to electrify the entire fleet of the United States.

Toyota warns that the grid and infrastructure simply aren’t there to support the electrification of the private car fleet. A 2017 U.S. government study found that we would need about 8,500 strategically-placed charge stations to support a fleet of just 7 million electric cars. That’s about six times the current number of electric cars but no one is talking about supporting just 7 million cars. We should be talking about powering about 300 million within the next 20 years, if all manufacturers follow GM and stop making ICE cars.
We will need much more generation capacity to power about 300 million cars if we’re all going to be forced to drive electric cars. Whether we’re charging them at home or charging them on the road, we will be charging them frequently. Every gas station you see on the roadside today will have to be wired to charge electric cars, and charge speeds will have to be greatly increased. Current technology enables charges in “as little as 30 minutes,” according to Kelly Blue Book. That best-case-scenario fast charging cannot be done on home power. It uses direct current and specialized systems. Charging at home on alternative current can take a few hours to overnight to fill the battery, and will increase the home power bill. That power, like all electricity in the United States, comes from generators using natural gas, petroleum, coal, nuclear, wind, solar, or hydroelectric power according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. I left out biomass because, despite Austin, Texas’ experiment with purchasing a biomass plant to help power the city, biomass is proving to be irrelevant in the grand energy scheme thus far. Austin didn’t even turn on its biomass plant during the recent freeze.
Half an hour is an unacceptably long time to spend at an electron pump. It’s about 5 to 10 times longer than a current trip to the gas pump tends to take when pumps can push 4 to 5 gallons into your tank per minute. That’s for consumer cars, not big rigs that have much larger tanks. Imagine the lines that would form at the pump, every day, all the time, if a single charge time isn’t reduced by 70 to 80 percent. We can expect improvements, but those won’t come without cost. Nothing does. There is no free lunch. Electrifying the auto fleet will require a massive overhaul of the power grid and an enormous increase in power generation. Elon Musk recently said we might need double the amount of power we’re currently generating if we go electric. He’s not saying this from a position of opposing electric cars. His Tesla dominates that market and he presumably wants to sell even more of them.
But we seem to be getting a train of carts lined up before the horse. If the idea of electrifying the car fleet is to reduce our carbon footprint, doesn't this just move our carbon footprint from the tail pipe to the power plant?  And then there is the assumption, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, that we can do all this with wind and solar power.  Look, even aspirational goals need to be based in reality.  But like everything else the Left does, the idea of powering automobiles solely with electricity partakes of magical wishing.  This is just more of the childish behavior of so much of the Left. 

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