An Inconvenient Truth

There has been a great deal of enthusiasm in some quarters for electric cars, most of it politically motivated.

A report, commissioned by the French President, out hunting a legacy for France and its soon-to-end position in the rotating EU presidency, has been round-filed, all for an inconvenient truth:

“Yet all those who have managed to glimpse at the document agree that it makes interesting reading. It concludes that there is not much future in the much vaunted developed of all electric-powered cars. Instead, it suggests that the traditional combustion engine powered by petrol, diesel, ethanol or new biofuels still offers the most realistic prospect of developing cleaner vehicles. Carbon emissions and fuel consumption could be cut by 30-40 per cent simply by improving the performance and efficiency of traditional engines and limiting the top speed to about 170km/hr. Even that is well above the average top speed restriction in Europe, with the notable exception of Germany. New so-called “stop and start” mechanisms can produce further 10 per cent reductions that can rise to 25-30 per cent in cities. Enhancements in car electronics as well as the development of more energy efficient tyres, such as Michelin’s new “energy saver” technology, are also expected to help reduce consumption and pollution.”

The reason for the round-filing, you ask?  Well…

“The misgivings over the future of the electric car may explain why the French government appears to have spiked the report. It probably considers it politically incorrect, especially when some of Mr Sarkozy’s big business chums such as Vincent Bolloré and Serge Dassault are developing either electric cars and lobbying hard. Renault too has struck a deal with Israel to jointly develop a mass-market electric vehicle. To paraphrase Al Gore’s documentary on climate change, Paris may feel it is not the best of times to publicise the inconvenient truth about electric cars.”

You want the truth?  Apparently, at least in France, it would appear that the powers-that-be have decided the public can’t handle the truth.

5 replies
  1. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    Oh yeah, electric cars: toxic metals, high weight, miserable performance, limited range, offsets the pollution to generating stations, frightfully complicated (try going to the corner garage), a threat to the deaf (can't hear them coming – ask Toyota), and quite expensive.

    Diesel: proven technology, relatively safe and available fuel (both in the ground and infrastructure wise), and outstanding fuel economy (a recent test had a TDI Jetta beat a Prius in a fuel economy run). Diesels are fixable by regular mechanics anywhere. And the TDI is an eminently more satisfying (read this: fun) vehicle to drive.

    Why do you think the bulk of cars, both economy and luxury, sold in Europe are Diesels and not hybrids?

  2. Wayne SW
    Wayne SW says:

    Those having faith in the Electric Car are the same who invested money with Madoff…..same lesson…..if it's to good to be true, yada yada yada

    Our electric grid is already stretched thin, so why not put a little more pressure on it. Dumb.

    We travel to far for the electric car to work. Now if we all golfed or worked within the range of a golf cart, electric may be feasible.

    Q: How many clean coal burning plants will it take to charge 1000 all electric cars?

    A: All of them.

  3. Rick - WH
    Rick - WH says:

    Electric cars never have been, aren't, and never will be viable in the United States. The limits on distance, speed, useful life of the power train as well as the massive amounts of toxic materials involved are insurmountable hurdles.

    Why should we pursue electric cars if there are far less costly, more flexible and more quickly reachable technologies available?

    Sorry…I forgot. The environmentalist wackos are in charge. They are ready to feed at the trough of government research subsidies and grants.

  4. russ
    russ says:

    the answer is no one thing
    solar in new england would work
    for haft the time
    the rest we walk
    think of the health benafits of walking
    up and down these conn hills
    so what if your late for work
    so what if you lose your job
    think of the future it will be
    clean green and with our death
    from starveation peaceful

  5. Wyndeward
    Wyndeward says:

    Solar power, on a large scale basis, is neither economical, nor reliable — just take a look out the window. Wind power requires a massive back-up infrastructure, since the wind doesn't always blow… so I suspect things wouldn't be nearly as cheerful as you suggest, Russ.

    Meanwhile, these electric cars create a massive increase in the toxic chemicals out in the population.

    One of my friends bought a Prius — they're a nice car, FWIW. But even he acknowledges that this is kicking the can down the road and substitution of pollution — reduced CO2, but increased chemical wastes.

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