‘The Promise of the Electric Vehicle’

Carbonhagen. That’s the best description of the location and nature of the international climate change summit currently taking place overseas in Denmark, where the “something is rotten” includes but is certainly not limited to the overt hypocrisy of those involved, as well as an underlying motivation behind environmental policy arising from anything but concern for the environment.

It’s been a great few weeks for people like myself who have been shouting to the rooftops in an attempt to shed light on the fraud which is the global warming movement. Following the exposure of hacked e-mails from East Anglia CRU showing that scientists actively engaged in data suppression and outright fraud, comments from Climatology’s high priests have smacked of desperation. Watching them squirm has been satisfying, to say the least.

Lost in a lot of the hubbub, however, is the reality that it is indeed in the best interests of us all to be responsible stewards of our planet and make best use of our resources, not for concern that the seas will catastrophically rise or that the thriving polar bear population will drown, but because true energy independence is in our national interests, and because–like Boy Scouts striking camp and leaving a campsite–we have an overall responsibility to leave this place cleaner for the next generation than it was for us.

Technological advances made every day are allowing us to do just that while simultaneously growing our economy and facilitating ingenuity, rather than slowing our economy and stifling imagination, as the global warming alarmists would have us do. Considering that, it is my pleasure to present a guest commentary on electric vehicles as an essential component of our future by Brad Fregger, a writer, professor and publisher with a Master’s Degree in Futuristics. I’ve also asked him a few questions (which, honestly, could have been a whole lot better on my part) about his assertions as well, and those appear afterward. I hope you enjoy his piece as much as I did.

The Promise of the Electric Vehicle
By Brad Fregger

The ultimate promise of the electric vehicle (EV) is lost on many of us who have a conservative viewpoint. For example, here’s Rush Limbaugh with quotes from Adam Victor of the New York Post:

If a few thousand well-meaning dupes plug a few thousand new Chevy Volts into electrical outlets, … you could actually add millions of pounds of dangerous, dirty, unregulated pollution and carbon into the air,” … Okay, we got an electric car. “Yeah, no gasoline! No petroleum! Less pollution! Plug it in.” What powers the plug? What powers the socket? “Dupes” is the right word.

And that ends the discussion. If we support the promise of the EV, we’re “dupes.” In some ways it’s similar to trying to discuss the global warming fraud with liberals. Their minds are made up. In addition, just as many of us have questioned where Al Gore obtained his information regarding the purported dangers of global warming, the same could be asked with regards to: “a few thousand new Chevy Volts … add millions of pounds of dirty, unregulated pollution.”

An intensive search of the Internet doesn’t uncover anything to support that statement. It has been suggested that the savings will not be as great as intended. But even here, there is no consideration for improvement in pollution control for power plants, when in reality the technological improvements to date have been spectacular. Also, most EVs–the Volt included–will be charged at night when the demand for electricity is at its lowest.

Sure, we’ll be having an increase in electrical usage, but the amount of pollution caused by that increase will be significantly less than would have been produced by gasoline-powered vehicles. This will be even more evident as new technologies gain further use. And, let’s not forget, when electricity is being produced by non-polluting sources (nuclear and hydro-electric for example), the EV really is zero-emission. While California is not a perfect example, it is worth mentioning that only 18 percent of their power comes from coal; the rest comes from either natural gas (45 percent) or other sources that are completely emission free.

There is little doubt that the EV can make a significant difference regarding two of our most compelling issues: First, our dependence on foreign oil, and second, the pollution that is a byproduct of gasoline-powered vehicles. These problems, like most problems, can be solved in the marketplace if the government will just leave the capitalistic system alone and let the innovative minds that drive new developments free to do what they do best; give us new and better products. In other words, don’t save the dinosaurs.

The EV is the answer for both the short and long term. Other alternatives just don’t match up.

Natural Gas: Building the infrastructure to service the nation’s automobiles with natural gas would be a major undertaking taking years and billions of dollars..

Ethanol and other biofuels: The problems here are well known. That we continue to support this solution is laughable; with only Congress not in on the joke.

Biodiesel: Almost as bad an idea as Ethanol — that we could, collect, create, and then distribute enough biodiesel to run a significant percentage vehicles on the nation’s highways is ridiculous.

Hydrogen: It might be decades before hydrogen is ready to replace gasoline as a vehicular fuel; and, again we have the infrastructure issue.

Yes, EVs are way ahead of the competition, and they are the only potentially zero-emission alternative available. A close analysis shows that there are really very few negatives.

The major problem with EVs has been range — the distances that they can travel before needing a charge. Technologies continue to improve, however, with Tesla all-electric cars getting up to 300 miles on a single charge. With regard to performance issues and concerns, the Tesla Roadster accelerates from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than four seconds and has a top speed of 125 miles per hour.

How about the infrastructure issue? Well, there are well over 300 million refueling stations already in existence. This includes, of course, every home and business in the United States. Furthermore, adding more “service stations” at every parking garage, motel, office, etc. will be a very simple process. For long trips, there could very well be battery stations where drivers can switch out a spent battery pack for a fresh one.

Ultimately, we will have to build additional electric-generating power plants. Again, regardless of whether or not the EV becomes the ultimate personal vehicle, we will still need additional power plants. Sustained growth is critical to the socio-economic health of our society and energy is critical to sustained growth. And, controlling emissions from a relatively small number of power plants is much easier than doing it for 300 million plus vehicles.

With the focus on and support of EV technology, we can be on the road to energy independence while dramatically reducing vehicle-caused pollution in a very short time, effectively eliminating it altogether in the long run.

And, believe it or not, there are other significant benefits to supporting this technology. First, even the potential of an EV-based society will force the price of oil down almost immediately as speculators lose confidence in the future demand for oil. Second, the global warming fanatics will lose a major piece of their argument as soon as it is shown that this one societal change, a change driven by the market, will do more than our government could ever do with new laws and excessive taxation.

How will the market cause this change? Stop and think about it for a second. What if you were made aware of a vehicle that looked sharp, performed well, was extremely reliable, needed very little maintenance, cost two cents per mile to run, and you never had to go to a gas station again. Would that interest you? Many of us would be extremely interested; the only thing that might hold us back would be the price. Computers were expensive a few years ago and now … well … you get the drift.

While it would be better for the government to stay out of the way completely, there is one thing government could do, and that’s providing facilitative financial support for research needed to provide for a much better electric storage capability. A “Manhattan Project” to help solve this would probably be a good idea and has been mentioned by others:

You can find folks across the political spectrum—Obama, Hillary Clinton, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Thomas Friedman, Sam Brownback —who seem to think a multibillion-dollar, government-led research and regulatory effort is just what is needed right now to develop clean energy sources in America.

They talk about better coal technology, developing biofuels (Obama especially, showcasing one more example of his ignorance), and Hydrogen fuel cells. But not once did they mention the need for better battery technology. The real clean energy sources–wind, solar, and tidal–all need better storage technology in order to be viable. Not to mention how better battery technology would solidify the EV as the only viable choice. This is where we need a new Manhattan Project.

The negatives of the EV are essentially economic, and therefore are a major problem for big business, local and state governments which depend on gasoline taxes, as well as the environmental lobbies. It is interesting that these groups, which have no great love for each other, form such a strong alliance against those of us making the right decisions for energy independence, our socio-economic health, and the future of our country; not to mention an end to vehicular pollution.

JEFF SCHREIBER: Between coal, natural gas, offshore oil and oil shale, we have hundreds of years of storable energy. Surely, you’re not suggesting a myopic focus on electric vehicles at the expense of mining, drilling, exploration and extraction?

BRAD FREGGER: Of course not. Energy is the engine that drives modern society. Without it, we will fail and suffer more than most can imagine. Presently we need all of the sources of energy available. To limit our alternatives is to risk our future and the risk is an ignorant one. To make clean energy possible, we need a technological breakthrough in storage capability, and one never knows when a technology breakthrough will happen — next year, or fifty years from now … or even more.

JS: I’m a big fan of an all-of-the-above approach to achieving true, real energy independence. Part of that includes things like wind, solar and tidal power, sources which are less feasible due to storage problems. Do you think that a new Manhattan Project, as you put it, working toward more efficient battery power for electric vehicles could also lead to technological breakthroughs in energy storage applicable to those other sources?

BF: I thought that was clear in my article, in fact, I was trying to state that the Manhattan Project needed to focus on your issue, with the EV getting some added benefit. Obviously, I didn’t make that clear. [He did; I was just being obtuse. -- Jeff]

JS: Even if the vehicles are plugged in at night, during off-peak hours, they’re still drawing power when charged, power which currently–due to nuclear-phobic bureaucrats–is produced in ways which, in turn, produce pollution. Are folks like Rush Limbaugh and even myself so wrong in saying that, as things stand right now, electric vehicles are by no means zero-emissions?

BF: Again, I thought I was clear that research has shown that, at the very least, there has been a slight improvement. Perhaps not much right now, especially in areas where they are using mostly coal to produce the electricity. However, in California for example, where there has been a movement toward clean energy, there would be dramatic decrease in pollutants where they have very clean energy, using only 18% coal, and this includes the electricity they import. Also, the coal problem has essentially been solved, and there’s just the cost of converting the plants — a move which will take place at sometime in the future.

JS: Isn’t Al Gore an investor in Tesla? Who else has a financial stake in the mainstreaming of electric vehicles?

BF: I wouldn’t be surprised — the crook has his fingers everyplace he thinks there’s a chance to make a lot of money off of global warming. However, if the people wise up and we get rid of Cap and Trade and any carbon taxes, much of his investments will disappear. And I will be one to celebrate that.

JS: If we’re focusing on more efficient battery technology, wouldn’t the natural progression of things produce super-efficient gas-electric hybrids first? And with our vast stores of oil and natural gas ready to be tapped, what’s so wrong with a more efficient hybrid that charges with inertia versus one that plugs in and draws power from polluting plants?

BF: What — you want to use polluting cars instead of “polluting” plants? Sorry, doesn’t make sense to me. Remember, the hybrids have to gain some inertia before they can use it to charge the batteries. Also, I’ve always thought it was a bit dumb to put two engines into a vehicle, as all associated costs just go up.

JS: A math question: How many electric vehicles would it take to match the harmful emissions spewed from Al Gore’s various orifices in a given month? (Show your work.)

BF: I’d have to know how many times he lets loose each day. Presently, I’m not privy to that information. And my last math class was in high school; that’s why I failed P-Chem and missed my Chem major.

JS: Finally, how long until ownership of electric vehicles is feasible for struggling middle class American families like mine?

BF: The Tesla Sedan is down to about $50,000 and that’s only the second version of an acceptable EV vehicle. I’d bet, with an honest focus on this technology, it would happen very quickly much like the price of computers has come down. And it will happen long before we see a viable Hydrogen or Natural Gas vehicle; Hydrogen still needs a technology breakthrough and they both have major infrastructure issues. However, in the meantime, I do think that T. Boone Pickens’ idea of using Natural Gas for long-haul trucks traveling our interstate highways is a very good idea. Adding that infrastructure should be relatively easy to accomplish and could make a significant difference in truck pollution almost immediately.

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Not what I expected to see here. Good honesty.

    JKR

  2. Boston Blackie says:

    "The negatives of the EV are essentially economic, and therefore are a major problem for big business, local and state governments which depend on gasoline taxes, as well as the environmental lobbies. It is interesting that these groups, which have no great love for each other, form such a strong alliance against those of us making the right decisions for energy independence, our socio-economic health, and the future of our country; not to mention an end to vehicular pollution."

    That in a nut shell is why this discussion has been going on since the 70's with no solution in site. These groups don't want to stop the gravy train. Very interesting read by Brad Fregger but what exactly is a Master's Degree in Futuristics, the study or prediction of future developments on the basis of existing conditions. I would have thought it was a math or science degree but he mentions that his last math class was in high school.
    More proof that cap n' trade is just an excuse for Gore's crew to make more money off the little guy.
    Also, if I am going to pay 50K for a car(highly unlikely any time soon)it will be a nice shiny black bemmer not some little clown car but that's just me.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I'm curious. How much does it cost to juice up an EV, each night?

  4. William A. Rose says:

    Bostoon Blackie, the Tesla cars are not clown cars by any stretch of the imagination. You can check it out at http://www.teslamotors.com.

    This car has been in production for a few yars now, and research for several years prior. The price should come down as time goes. The ability to travel 300 miles daily on a full charge should be more than adequate enough for the average motorist. I don't think I ever drove my car that distance on any given day (and that's even working as a pizza delivery driver).

    Regarding natrual gas for big trucks, it's not necessary. All that needs to be done is adapt the EV technology to them. Locomotives are propelled by electric motors. They have a big engine driving a big generator which drives the wheel motors. Electric motors have instant torque and can shred tires right off of wheels.

    I believe viable EV technology has been aroun for far longer than anyone is aware. It's just been quashed and put away, etc., because of the economic and political considerations – because of the money.

    I do believe Tesla's corporate powers are driven by greed, however. It's the human condition. They want to sell what they have for max money – sell the one vehicle they have for a million, instead of sell a million for 1 each. If those vehicles were made affordable, and mass produced effectively as the big 3 car makers have done, there'd be nothing but electric cars on the road in very short order.

    I have more to say, but these coments should be……….pithy.

  5. Gail B says:

    And, Jeff, don't sell yourself short on your interviewing skills! You get right to the bottom of things!

    Just got through watching Glenn Beck. John Stossel was a guest, and Glenn showed a video of a golf cart bought in Arizona for $6,000 and shipped to New York. He will be given a tax credit for the amount paid for the golf cart, and the dealer was therefore advertising them as "free."

    The point of this was that it takes as much energy to charge the battery as it would to run it on fuel. Therefore, the air is no cleaner simply because it is battery powered.

    I agree with Mr. Fregger in that the secret to cleaner air is in better technology for batteries, not higher taxes, fines, fees, and higher electric bills!

  6. Thomas Edison says:

    But our electric bills are soon going to necessarily skyrocket! We won't even want to be heating our homes then, let alone be juicing up a car.

  7. Anonymous says:

    When will Al Gores private jet run on a battery?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Jeff,

    I am always amazed at how people can obtain status without substance.

    I hope your comment, "it is my pleasure to present a guest commentary" doesn't imply that "BF" will become a regular.

    Admitted failures of,

    "I'd have to know how many times he lets loose each day. Presently, I'm not privy to that information. And my last math class was in high school; that's why I failed P-Chem and missed my Chem major."

    is not someone to be reckoned with or considered for council.

    Personally, I feel your infamous picture of Al Gore would apply to the opinion presented. I honestly can not read his statements without rage for the idiocy he subscribes. He preaches more religion than practical application of reasonable real world science. I guess that why he failed P-chem. What do I know, I only achieved a lowly BS (I love that designation) in Mathematics with a minor in Chemistry.

  9. Uncle Rick says:

    Natural gas cars? Bad idea. Real bad idea. Every car is a potential bomb. Don't even go there.

    Jeff, you mentioned only carbon fuel stores that we have. What many don't realize is that we have over 500 years' worth (that's right — five centuries) of electrical energy in the form of thorium that has already been mined and is presently stored in above-ground facilities. Liquid-salt thorium cycle reactors require no breakthroughs in technology, and they not only do not produce significant amounts of radioactive waste, they can consume existing depleted uranium and much of the other reactor waste that is presently being stored. Big win all around.

  10. Anonymous says:

    for argument sake lets say there is no improvement in the current status of controlling pollution by going electric. by doing so we are still ahead of the game because there is less demand for the jugular-guggler, hence less dependence on the nations who hold their oil clout (our energy source literally) over our heads as political currency. that alone is worth going electric for.

    we have far too many dishonest people in office making rules and laws that they see only through their bottom line: where they are invested and how it will keep money in their individual pockets.
    when some of these so-called decisions .. er "opinions" are made and correlated with how it affects the finances of those making the decisions it will blow your mind which is yet another reason for going back to our grass roots of electing honest and patriotic people to office.

  11. Anonymous says:

    by the way Jeff, if EV catches on which i hope it does, nighttime will no longer be the time of "least" demand, but i'm sure we can fix that too. :-)

    you know sometime ago i read a study about using the rarely eaten KUDZU which grows like wildfire and requires no maintenance – not even water. CONVERT THAT TO A SOURCE OF ENERGY and we are in business as an additional source of energy.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous said…
    Not what I expected to see here. Good honesty.

    JKR
    ————————–
    sounds like you are still listening soley to the obamaNETWORK instead of checking things out for yourself?

    continue checking in. you'll find honesty is always here.

  13. Boston Blackie says:

    William A Rose – I took your advice and checked out the website for the electric car, I am not impressed. I expected to see other cars besides the one shown in this article but that is the only one. Great car if you are a 50 something man going through his mid life crisis or a young blond driving down the California coastline. Other than that, not very roomy and not practical for those east coast winters that sometimes start in October and end in June.

  14. Illinois Knows says:

    Very interesting article, thank you. Couple things though.
    1. While the Tesla and other Electric cars are fine for cities and towns, there is no way that it would work in rural communities. While it is very cute and I'm impressed with the details, can you imagine trying to drive that after getting 12" snow, living in the country with winds drifting it constantly and plows only coming by once a day (if you're lucky)?
    2. What about the older muscle cars, collector cars and sport/hobby 4×4? Would they then become illegal or taxed?
    Don't get me wrong, I think EV cars are great, but some places they just wouldn't be feasible. Honestly we travel 200 – 300 miles quite often, usually with a diesel truck towing a large powerful toy! So, go ahead and build them, buy them, advance the technology so that it can replace the diesel 4×4 truck and I'll be all good!

  15. Anonymous says:

    3:29

    I have kudzu out the arse encroaching here onto my cotton farm in Humboldt, TN. I am a potential multi-millionaire.

  16. Anonymous says:

    They have a fit when we throw AAA batteries away. Where are all these batteries going to end up? Will car crashes be acidic?

  17. Aggie94 says:

    Thanks for posting this. Not sure what anon. is talking about re: "more religion than practical application of reasonable real world science," and I probably wouldn't listen to his counsel, especially since he can't spell it.

    Energy independence-especially from those who desire our destruction-is worth a very significant investment, from me personally, and from our government. That would be a clearly constitutional activity-unlike so many others we are presently embarking upon.

    Thanks again for the article and interview,

    John

  18. Anonymous says:

    Ever think about the irony from Nader?

    Historically, using "Unsafe at Any Speed" as the basis, cars became "safer" and heavier. What's going to happen when a "safer" SUV T-bones one of the glorified golf carts.

    MR. "Green Party" eating cake.

  19. Anonymous says:

    anon @ 03:26,

    > less dependence on the nations who hold their oil clout (our energy source literally) over our heads as political currency. that alone is worth going electric for.

    agreed. What percentage of the petroleum we burn actually comes from the Middle East? What kind of technological effort would be required to replace that percentage of the petroleum? (Yes, other countries would still buy it, but even that might diminish radical Islam's resentment of us — especially if we could pull US troops out of Saudi Arabia.)

    Also re: long-haul trucks, fueling them with natural gas may or may not be a good idea, but Wal-Mart is already working on making their trucks lighter by incorporating carbon fiber composites; another good way of saving fuel, no matter what kind of fuel.

    graypanther

  20. Brad Fregger says:

    Really didn't want to get involved; however, a couple of clarifications.

    EVs are not yet ready for the general public … but they are much closer than anything else and definitely the future. My personal dream is the Tesla Sedan … but, then, I am an old man that hasn't had any math since high school.

    The Master's in Futuristics from San Jose State is a Master's of Art, not Science. It was a philosophical paper not a scientific one, "The Impact of Images of the Future on Current Socio-Economic Health" … 1980.

    And, I, too, have a minor in Chem.

  21. Boston Blackie says:

    Brad, Thanks for the explanation and the article. I would have definitely thought it was a math or science degree. With your minor in chem, you are probably more intelligent than most scientist.

  22. Anonymous says:

    10:27

    As a Firefighter EMT I can tell you these little cars will at least be easier to cut open to remove the corpses (if the car hasn't already been shredded in the collision).

  23. Anonymous says:

    All I can say is, Palin 2012.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Wow, artists working on our energy future. Is this an NEA project?

  25. William A. Rose says:

    There are many good points about the negative aspect of these cars. I'm under the impression that the carbon fiber bodies are supposed to be as strong as steel, so I'd like to think they might not get smashed and destroyed like the proverbial golf cart, but, I'm not so sure.

    When I mentioned how a locomotive is driven by electric motors on the wheels, I just can't believe we dont' have the technology to apply electrical propulsion to our nice big 'ole 4x4s and SUVs and so on and still get that 200-300 mile daily range.

    I drive a big 'ole 4×4 Dodge Ram. 4-door (all real doors, not the two back half doors) and 8 foot bed. I would not be caught in one of those itty bitty jokes of an AV car, dead or otherwise. I like the Tesla Roadster, but like Boston Blackie said, it's too small to be practical for a family. They do have a 4 door sedan – it's their model S. Apparently they need to make it a little more prominent on their website. All they had was a really easy to miss link. Here's the URL for it: http://www.teslamotors.com/models/index.php

    Have a great evening/night folks. I won a router and router table on eBay and picked it up today. I am gonna have me some fun fun fun!!!!

  26. William A. Rose says:

    Also, I think those Tesla cars are priced simply too high for the average consumer. I have always had the impression that company was driven more by greed than by true interest in the climate.

    Though I like the cars, and don't like any other EV, I am not a super supporter of the company. They have a long way to go yet to gain my full support.

    I guess that Model S will be available for delivery in 2011.

    You gotta admit, they do look better than every other EV that's our there.

  27. pwc says:

    When the temperature in Minnesota is -20F, how do these cars keep the windshield defrosted? And keep the interior livable? I suppose an electric heater–then what happens to the range?

  28. brrrrrrrr says:

    I'm with pwc on this one, this just doesn't add up.

  29. Is this the line for money? says:

    pwc,

    when it gets that cold, just stay home and Obama will send you money from his stash.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Aggie94,

    Council : "a body serving in an administrative capacity"

    The pursuit of this technology (tax dollars), at this time, smacks in the face of free-market.

    Counsel : "advocate: a lawyer who pleads cases in court"

    If my use of the word "confuscated" the issue, my apologies. Next you'll be telling me that pulling funding ACORN is unconstitutional…. oh wait….

    Religion : "a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny"

    Insert EV where applicable.

    "San Jose State is a Master's of Art, not Science." 'nuff said.

    Yeah, don't listen to me.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Someone tell pwc that critical thinking is no longer practiced. I mean, really.

  32. Slow down cowboy says:

    They say technology doubles like every 10 years. If we ourselves have enough fuels to keep us going as is for decades, WHILE alternate energy sources are perfected (and some even dreamed up we don't even know about yet) what is the harm in that? I was always taught haste makes waste.Somebody please correct me or enlighten me on this. Good grief.

  33. MY 96 BONNEVILLE ROCKS says:

    That's a Magnum P.I. wannabe car. Pretty sad.

  34. harrison says:

    That car is based on a Lotus and is pretty cool in its gasoline version.

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  1. [...] p.m. on NBC.  (Again.)  Our own Brad Fregger covered the same subject in a different way in his debut piece here at America’s Right back in December, a piece which was bookended by a terrible interview by [...]

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