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Electric Cars and the Environment

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by nivagh, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. nivagh
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    nivagh Member

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    [Jan 8, 2007]
    Watching somebody getting out of a Prius on the tv over the weekend set me thinking about electric cars and their "green" credentials...

    Given that the vast majority of the electricity generated in the UK is from non-renewable sources (oil, gas, coal...) and that when you plug your Toyota milk cart into the socket at home, that's where the energy is coming from, how green is an electric car really when compared to your standard hydrocarbon powered vehicle? :detective2:
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  3. enda1
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    enda1 Member

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    [Jan 8, 2007]
    The prius doesn't plug into the grid to get its electricity. It uses an petrol engine combined with an electric motor and battery pack and uses regenerative braking, energy wasted in braking, to top up its batteries.
    That said a recent US study on the green credentials of cars, from cradle to grave, showed that the cost of recycling the materials in the battery packs meant that they were no greener than a normal car
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  4. Caesium
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    Caesium My BM is fixed!

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    [Jan 8, 2007]
    Hydrogen is still the most sensible choice, same power as fossil fuel but 0 emissions.
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  5. enda1
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    enda1 Member

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    [Jan 8, 2007]
    The only problem with Hydrogen is that to get it you have to extract it from Natural gas or extract it from water. Both use energy and currently the only way to get the energy needed is from fossil fuel or nuclear power stations so at the minute hydrogen is not a zero emission fuel
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  6. Caesium
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    Caesium My BM is fixed!

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    [Jan 8, 2007]
    the hydrogen itself is, the current means of producing it are not. Although if large scale electrolosis plants were constructed, they could run on the Hydrogen they produce once enough was created and stored.
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  7. nivagh
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    nivagh Member

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    [Jan 8, 2007]
    Yeah, hydrogen is also problematic because at the moment there's not enough platinum in the world to make enough storage cells to replace all conventional vehicles. Or something.
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  8. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    [Jan 8, 2007]
    The Prius is a soft-target for the pro-motoring groups, because, as previously mentioned in this thread, it's environmental effects are worse over its lifetime because of recycling costs and so on. Plus, a good diesel car beats it for economy and emissions, and the Prius is quite expensive.

    However, nobody expected Toyota to get it right first time out with the Prius; hybrid technology will take time to refine and that's before we consider alternatives like hydrogen fuel cells, or electric cars (an Elise has been developed in the US with an electric motor which does 0-60mph in 4 seconds) and biofuels (which are becoming more interesting thanks to the high octane count).

    But get used to it, because we'll be seeing more and more of these in years to come!
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  9. VeeDub Geezer
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    VeeDub Geezer Ex-20v Coupe Owner

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    [Jan 8, 2007]
    i like the idea of bio fuels like E85 as shown in the Lotus Elise 265E

    [​IMG]
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  10. Caesium
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    Caesium My BM is fixed!

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    [Jan 8, 2007]
    i understand caterham has also done the same sort of thing as the lotus
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