Infographic: Electric vehicles will not save coal

The purpose of this Infographic is to debunk the common misconception that a switch to Electric Vehicles will hugely increase demand for electricity.

This Infographic breaks down and depicts the data that it won’t, and in turn, Electric Vehicles will not save Coal as many suggest is might.

The resulting effect is that Oil has far more to lose than the electricity sector has to gain

Electric Vehicle Infographic

Stay tuned for a follow-up article soon taking a detailed look at costs of Electric Vehicles and penetration rates.

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    • Data provided factually incorrect. Because it doesn’t address where the energy comes from, transmission and thermodynamic losses. So (in the diagram above) you have presented on one side electric car motion, and nothing else. I have actually worked out the thermodynamic comparison, and it is massively the other way around!!! Massively, in fact, on average, an electric car, globally, produces substantial more CO2 than the equivalent diesel – and worse, substantially more than a petrol car. That is fact… completely ruins the environmental argument.

      Damien and his ilk should just do some rigorous analysis. Its all catch-line titles. We live in a society where opinion is considered fact!

      • Damien KlassenMEMBER

        I missed the part where carbon was mentioned? Factually speaking I can’t see CO2 or carbon or the environment anywhere in the graphic, which leads me to an opinion that you decided what to complain about before even reading the post…

        • Re-read what I wrote! Energy and coal! Its in your title.

          Re-read what I wrote. The CO2 was an aside – re-read please. Then comment…

  1. one would not believe how little energy electric cars use
    there are around 7000 petrol stations in Australia, assuming on average each covering an area of 2500sqm – if covered by solar panels that area could produce over 5TWh per year, if all cars in Australia (20m) are electric there would be enough electricity to run each car 3600km per year

    • batteries are dead tech. Honda, Yamaha, Toyota & Nissan are/have/testing Gel Lithium / Static capacitors in conjunction with hybrid. Batteries are poison and wasteful inefficient tech and one of the most horrible things to unleash on the environment besides plastics.

      • most of cars have batteries that will last longer than the car – not that wasteful
        200km range car battery can be recharged on average 1500 times giving a car 300 000km – not very many last that long

  2. Does this include power lost in charging batteries and the inefficiencies to get power from source to the electric engine?

    • Damien KlassenMEMBER

      Yes it includes power lost in charging batteries and inefficiencies.

      It is calculated as how much energy do you need to draw from the grid to fill a battery (with associated losses) and then supply the same mechanical thrust as you would get in a oil case.

      • Damien I’d be very interested in your view of the future demand for coal in quasi developing nations like China, India and Pakistan over the med term. The demand is there now as one of the few refuges for coal, do you see this changing materially over the near-med term e.g. with a shift of critical mass in uptake of battery and solar at some point vs. new coal fired power stations? Would be very interested as that would, in my mind, be a significant milestone for the coal industry.

  3. Electric vehicles increase demand for off peak while decreasing peak energy needs by using thier batteries in a smart grid system. That means you need more base load, for which coal is by far the cheapest source once you account for how little of the time wind and solar produce energy. Name plate cost evaluation is a joke. Maybe direct solar to hydrogen to fuel cell will overcome that problem, but so might fusion or thorium.

  4. I am interested in other people’s opinions on hydrogen. I have noticed that there has been a lot of comments from politicians lately about developing hydrogen. I am wondering who is paying for that policy. Is it the energy companies who see it as a natural next step because there is something they can produce and sell through existing distribution channels, and maintain their dominance, or it it actually a viable option. And why am I now constantly trying to work out which lobby group is behind any announcement rather than believing a political party can have a non sponsored policy or original idea.

    • Congrats on seeing through all the blinding dust kicked up on any subject you care to mention where money is to be gouged! AFAIK Hydrogen has been dropped by the Japanese who were fronting it – costs involved? I did see an article that claims to be able to produce Hydrogen from some cheap chemical reaction with seawater, but I can’t find it now…. If true it could be revived, but who knows whose behind that one as well….. it could just be more Science Mart too.

    • Jevons ghostMEMBER

      Hydrogen economy as it impacts on Australia – pros and cons. Recent detailed review at link below. There is also a video dealing with this issue that is from the same source, ie: the Australian alternative energy organisation ReNew – link to the video also below. ReNew’s current take on hydrogen powered cars is that they are not worth persevering with. Cogent reasoning leads them to that conclusion. They do think that hydrogen powered trucks may well be a goer.

  5. I am seeing a pattern, 5 or so years ago, all the banks were selling their properties that were locating in your local shop top strip shopping areas. They were sold with ultra long leases but with 5+5+5+5 year terms etc. They were sold at extremely low yields to mum and dad investors. As you can see now many banks are not renewing their options and you end up with vacant shops trying to get top dollar rent.

    The petrol station sales have being going nuts over the last two years. Admittedly they have longer term leases and large options such as 10 + 10 +10 etc… but it will be interesting to see around 2025 how many of these sites will be vacant. The issue the landlords will have are the remediation costs which is required when re-developing a petrol station.

  6. There are 20mil cars in Australia.
    If all became Tesla with 80kWh batteries and were all charged at home overnight *only* it means every household will have to spend 160kWh per 8rs of every night for charging. To compare, this power is equivalent to 10x 2kW hot water systems running at your home each night. In current, this means load of approx 20kW/230V=86A circuit on top of your nominal house load. your 100kWh Tesla will create about 110A peak load
    Most monophase households are rated for 63A max load – in reality seldom over 30A peak or 3x 32A for 3-phase connection.
    Now multiply these 86 or 110Amps additional load by every house in every street and we come to “impossible”. Well it is possible (anything is) but it requires over sizing entire grid at least 2 if not 3 times the existing. They could also run a separate power grid just for EV(could be less expensive to upgrade on top of existing poles) but it effectively it means rebuilding the whole power grid…
    If we look into the way NBN was botched, this will never happen. Thus when EV start to choke the power grid we will see the increase in power cost to homes, all in the name of a brighter future (18 months from now 😉 ).

    So whom stands to win?
    I can tell you whom stands to lose the most in haste mass adaptation of a limited method of GHG reduction. Anyone remembers CDMA mobile phones?

    Series rechargeable hybrids have potential to address all the bads.

    • Rubbish. There WILL NOT be 20mil cars charging every night.

      1) 80kw will drive 500km. The average person drives 36km per day. So that means recharging at most once a week (13 days it works out at).
      2) People will charge weekly at home during the day when it is free.
      3) Oil refining is a hugely power intensive process (AGAIN NOT FACTORED INTO THE INFOGRAPHIC ABOVE). Take that away from the grid and replace it with home charging and we have a net reduction in grid demand.

  7. PalimpsestMEMBER

    @Djenka is not in the right order of magnitude, James. Let’s accept the car battery is the claimed 80 Kwh. Then consider a 120 Kwh hour charger – this is a commercial model and charges, depending on existing charge, between 15-45 minutes, (45 minutes if empty). The new home chargers from Tesla can output up to 7.7 Kw. So first off there won’t be 120Kwh per 8 hours overnight – until batteries are about 15 times bigger, giving a range of about 6000 Km per charge.
    And there’s the second issue. The only family that needs to recharge every night all night are people doing more than 500 km a day, and at that mileage they’ll probably choose to top up during the day at a commercial 120Kwh charger somewhere – over a coffee.
    Look, EV’s are not perfect, but let’s keep the debate reasonable. For most families it’s still a large capital expenditure, but the running costs are way down. Not just fuel costs, but much lower maintenance. Right now the effect on base load is negligible.

    • Ok so to have a meaningful debate, if all cars were replaced as electric, in Sydney, how many kWh’s per day and how many cars are you considering in your analysis?

  8. Jumping jack flash

    If nothing else, electric vehicle + off-grid solar = energy independence.
    Energy independence is a marvelous concept not seen in modern society since the horse and cart.

    I don’t care if it costs me slightly more or slightly less, being in total control of my own energy is a huge advantage to me, and I would also think for society in general. It sounds the death-knell for many gouging oligopolies who exploit the fact that providing your own energy is illegal or dangerous, and requires specialist knowledge and equipment.

    Next will be total control of our own water and food. Food is the tricky one.
    If you add crippling amounts of debt into the mix then reliance on centralised food production is required because there simply isn’t enough time available to use your labour to produce food for your and your family’s consumption AND use your labour to service insanity-level debt.