How To Win The Anti-Electric Car Argument

The ever present field of electric car naysayers love nothing more than to launch attacks on the rise of the electric car, these people seem to have an almost personal dislike of the electric vehicle and love nothing more than trying to convince anyone who’ll listen that the electric car is doomed. I hear from them everyday and today, I’m going to tell you how to resoundingly beat them in an argument. The list below are their most common claims and under each claim I’ve put the appropriate counter argument. If you’d like to add to this list please post your addition in the comments, the comments will then be included in round 2.

  • They’re too expensive!
  • So were cell phones 10-20 years ago, and they were clunky, the battery life was abysmal and only the wealthy could afford them. The current rate of technological innovation is blisteringly fast and as electric cars, trucks, vans and motorcycles become more widely accepted and mass produced, the pricing will come down by several orders of magnitude. It happens with all technology, electric cars are no different. Currently the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt are both affordable to middle-class American families, the next few years will see many more cars on the market and a steady downward trend on pricing.
  • They can’t go long distances!
  • Yes they can. You’d need to stop to get gas anyway so stopping to recharge isn’t exactly a new experience. Yes it takes longer however technology is just around the corner that’ll see batteries being charged in 20 minutes or less at dedicated charging stations, at a cost of just a couple of dollars for a “full tank”. 20 minutes is how long it takes you to have a coffee and read the paper, play a couple of levels of Angry Birds, stretch your legs or just wander around and take in the sights of the town you’re passing through. We already have electric cars with a 300 mile range (the Tesla Model S), so just imagine what we’ll have in 10 years.
  • They are all charged by coal power stations anyway!
  • No they aren’t. An increasing number of people charge their cars from wind and solar power. Those who do charge off the grid emit no carbon. Those who charge on the grid benefit from the huge difference in efficiency afforded by power-plants, they can produce an equal amount of power emitting less than half the CO2 of a conventional car engine for the distance travelled. That’s a big difference.
  • The batteries are toxic and are bad for the environment!
  • No, they aren’t toxic. In fact according to the U.S. government, lithium ion batteries aren’t an environmental hazard at all. “Lithium Ion batteries are classified by the federal government as non-hazardous waste and are safe for disposal in the normal municipal waste stream”. Toyota and Honda are leading the charge when it comes to battery recycling and Toyota even offers $200 USD for used battery packs to make sure they are properly recycled.

It might be worth bookmarking this page so you’re ready next time you meet an anti-electric car zealot. As I mentioned above, if you’d like to add to this list, please post your addition in the comments below.

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15 Comments

Can you do one of these on climate change deniers as well?

I just cant wait to have care that uses 120 watts per mile.

I can’t figure out if it is going up hill or down hill.


Usually I drive with power steering, air conditioning, power brakes, head lights on tail lights working.

And in the winter with the heater on.

I sure plan to get a lot use out of 120 watts!

Grundoon

I agree, electric cars are overdue and a welcome addition to the fleet but I’m not sure I’d be quite so giddy about some your reasons for defending them. On being charged by fossil fuel sources: First I’m not sure there enough around to be charged by anything as yet and when there are 95% will be charged by fossil fuel sources. Unless, of course some owners happen to live in the country–on large enought lots–in communities with permissible zoning–and have at least $15,000 to erect their own wind generator. Or cover their yard or roof with expensive solar arrays sufficient enough to charge their car during the day— in that short period when you’re not using it. (solar won’t charge it over night). The well-head to wheel efficiency of a gasoline powered automobile is about 15%. The well-head or mine-mouth to wheel efficiency of an electric vehicle is just a little over 20%. Not much of a gain. Which means, in the end, that you get higher torgue, silence and cleaner air in the cities from electric cars, that’s about all. The CO2 issue, everyone, hopefully, will sooner or later get it through their heads, was a non-issue to begin with and , we will some day see an end to it. Oh yes, by the way, I’m a retired physicist.

Peter Pan

Your arguments are all just around the corner in never never land.

L.Micheals

@Grundoon, firstly 19% of global energy consumption came from renewables in 2008 and that number has since gone up. Wind power is growing at a rate of 30% internationally year on year.

Secondly, wind turbines can be bought for as little as 2,000usd and the smaller ones need no zoning approval. Solar panels are cheaper than you seem to think they are as well.

The CO2 issue is a huge problem and not a “non-issue”, as a physicist you should know that.

Captain Hook

@ Peter Pan – why even bother commenting on something if you’re just going to talk nonsense? You can buy an electric car and charge it from renewables right now, never never land it isn’t.

It is only Never, Never land for 99.999% of the population.

1. It is believed that we are obliged to develop renewable energy to make sure the generations ahead use them, in exchange for consuming diminishing power resources.
 
2. Even Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia believes renewable sources could account for up to 10 percent of its power output by 2020 with prices coming down and a regulatory framework in place.
A Saudi official said, “We believe large scale power generation from solar can be achieved near the end of this decade, near 2020. Beyond 2020, the economics will be clearly in the favor of deployment of solar power,”
 
3. As world moves on to electrification, as a bonus, the cost of gas prices would be stabilized.

 
4. The Hidden Cost of Oil
 
The total cost to the United States of the Iraq war at $3 trillion.
But it appears that our $3 trillion estimate (which accounted for both government expenses and the war’s broader impact on the U.S. economy) was, if anything, too low. For example, the cost of diagnosing, treating and compensating disabled veterans) has proved higher than we expected
Plus, the subsequent recession costs ??
 
the Afghanistan war at a price tag of 140 billion a year
 
U.S. spends for military 800billion a year
 
Even Overall US intelligence budget tops $80 billion annually.
 
Environmental costs & cancer risks & humiliating full body scan and the likes !
 
5. Back in 2002, many neoconservatives believed that war could be funded from oil revenues gained from controlling that region. Well, it did not work out that way. This war just cost too much, to say nothing of the unintended consequence of weakening American security. If the cost of this war were added into the cost of gasoline, no one would be able to afford to drive a gas-powered car.
 
6. Some oil proponents say moving on to EVs is gambling, but I’d rather say status-quo would be just Sinking without swimming.
When stimulus package ends, major car builders will be back in recession sales, if they are now buoyed by its benefits, exaggerating EV’s range issue.
 
7. DBM Energy’s electric Audi A2 completed record setting 372 mile drive on a single charge, hence the remaining tasks would be economy of scale & a network of charging system.
 
8. As the long-standing Think & converted EVS illustrate, I think it doesn’t make sense some critics call EV technology unproven.
 
9. To my knowledge, the coal and natural gas generally generate electricity at daytime.
 
But EV drivers tend to charge mostly overnight with the untapped, or mostly WASTED electricity as hydro & Wind & nuclear power plants keep operating around the clock. In other words, we are draining much of the precious power at night due to lack of high-cost storage devices.
 
And, in EU & America, the pace of renewable energy development has already topped that of unhealthy energy.

There are two issues you omitted:
What should one answer to the following arguments?
– Electric cars may face problems in cold weathers (winter in Canada, Montana, Scandinavia, Russia…) as batteries lose performance with low temperatures.

– In case of accidents, rescuers will have to face high currents that may be very dangerous.
That’s not to mention unless flexible batteries are invented, car batteries are usually very dense, so they won’t allow the car to deform properly and all the shock’s energy will be diverted to passengers.

Isn’t the future in a smarter way of using means of transport?

ElectroVelocity

Hi Vlad.

1 – Gasoline and Diesel cars require radiator-water-cooling systems to function in any climate so it isn’t a big stretch to apply a battery warming system to electric cars in cold climates.

2 – Battery packs aren’t actually that dangerous, if they were you would never be allowed to take them on a plane inside your laptop and cellphone. Paramedics currently visit accident sites where highly explosive gasoline has leaked and still manage to do their jobs.

3 – All electric cars go through the same stringent crash tests as gasoline cars, the added benefit of electric cars is that they don’t have a huge 1,000+ pound steel engine that can be slammed back into the driver in the advent of a head-on collision.

How about “Renewable energy can replace fossil anywhere on the grid without having to invest huge sums of money on new cars. The capital saved from not buying/subsidizing electric cars could be spent on promoting more efficient technologies elsewhere (say air conditioning, lighting, industrial machines – anything where electricity is in use anyway) and deliver a lot more bang for the buck much quicker in terms of tons-CO2-avoided, tons-oil-not-imported, tons-coal-not-strip-mined etc. per invested dollar.” ?

nofreewind

This article is nonsense and it starts with cell phones were so expensive 10 years ago. No they weren’t. Maybe 20 years ago.

He is also forgetting to tell you one of the big reasons why electric cars are so expensive, because they use a tons of RARE EARTH MINERALS in their construction. These are already rare! And NO ONE even drives an electric car. You could drive 1,000 miles today in the Northeast US today and you are guaranteed not to see one electric car. NOT ONE. So the prices of electric cars will increase with more of them, because the rare-earth minerals will even be more rare. Duh! And we are already being held hostage by China because they have them, and we don’t.

Another article that just reinforces IGNORANCE.

ElectroVelocity Editorial

Thanks for your comment “nofreewind”, we’re always happy to engage in open and frank discussion about electric cars and renewable energy. We will however try to avoid using ALL CAPITALS TO MAKE A POINT AS IT LOOKS STUPID.

First off, cell phones were more expensive 10 years ago, of course they were. You can get a phone for a few 10s of dollars nowadays! They’re so cheap now they even have disposable ones.

Secondly, rare earth minerals aren’t that rare, in fact they are surprisingly plentiful within the Earth’s crust. The reason that China is one of the only providers is because they produce them very cheaply (cheap labour), not because all the rare earth minerals magically happen to be within Chinese borders. The USA has plenty of rare earth mines but couldn’t match the low prices from China. Do some research and you’ll see that we’re 100% right on both counts.

Thirdly, of course there aren’t many electric cars on the road, that’s what we’re trying to change. In the days of horses and carts there weren’t many gasoline cars on the road. Things change. Even back in the days of horses there were those who said “the automobile will never catch on”. These people get left behind.

In the age of Google it isn’t that hard to research, it doesn’t even really take that long, try doing some! You might like it.

very true… the article.
in the meanwhile, until batteries really get cheap and fast-charging capable, EVs will start their career as taxis and fleet-cars, cars with lower requiremnt in terms of flexibility than “family cars”.

in some near future, we will laugh at the discussion, because technology just develops..

We are a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community.
Your website provided us with valuable information to work on. You have done a formidable job and our entire community will be thankful to you.


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