In a twitter battle last week, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders criticized Elon Musk for accepting billions of dollars in government support. The exchange erupted over Sanders’ new bill to impose a wealth tax on Musk and other billionaires. But most of the payments received by Musk’s companies came from electric vehicle and solar energy programs that Sanders, green advocates, and state governments established to promote green energy.
Should Americans follow China in a massive commitment to supposedly eco-friendly battery-electric buses (BEBs)? California has mandated a “carbon-free” bus system by 2040 and will buy only battery or fuel cell-powered buses after 2029. Other states and cities are following suit.
Vehicle decisions are typically based on cost and performance. Cost includes selling price plus maintenance, while performance now includes perceived environmental impacts – which for some is the only issue that matters. But that perception ignores some huge ecological (and human rights) issues. Continue reading “Do ‘Green’ Buses Pass the Performance Test?”
Lately, many politicians at the federal, state, and local levels have unthinkingly bought into the talking points of radical environmentalists, pushing policies to require 100 percent of the electricity used in the United States to come from politically favored renewable energy sources, primarily wind and solar power.
They wanted water without building dams, cheap reliable electricity without using coal or gas or nuclear power, transport without using petrol or diesel, food without farmers or fishermen, employment without factories, metals and motor fuels without refineries and bridges and buildings without cement and steel.
Their countryside was uglified by paddocks of magic mirrors, forests of whirling bird-slicers and spider-webs of access tracks and power lines that delivered abundant electricity when it was least needed (and little at peak demand).
But the taps went dry, cattle and crops died, batteries went flat, lights went out, seafood and rice came from Vietnam, metals were smelted and refined in China, trains were built in India, cars and trucks came from Japan, motors fuels were imported from South East Asia, construction slumped and savings fled to Zurich.
The latest announcements from political fairyland came from Bill Shorten with his vision that 50% of all new cars will be “electric” by 2030 and that each one would only take 10 minutes to recharge.
To borrow a phrase from The Castle, somebody should: “Tell him he’s dreaming.”
Better still, tell Bill to do a little homework on so-called electric cars and he will find that they are not electric cars at all.
Well-intentioned environmentalists and a number of politicians such as Bill fail to understand that batteries don’t continually create electricity. Rather they store electricity that has to be generated elsewhere by more often than not abundant, inexpensive, high energy-density, reliable hydrocarbon fuels.
Bill also believes that so-called electric cars don’t emit any carbon dioxide. The vehicles might not emit any when running on battery alone but since that electricity has come from a hydrocarbon-fuelled power plant, the elimination of car tail-pipe emissions is entirely countered by the equivalent carbon dioxide emissions at the power station.