January 27, 2021

The rationale for electric cars in economic and environmental terms

2 min read

Many energy sources are used to produce electricity, like fossil fuels such as natural gas as well as coal, nuclear power, and a range of renewable energy like solar, solar, hydropower, and biomass. That being said, for the transportation industry, electricity comes mostly from crude oil. In the year 2019, 91 percent of transportation industry power came from the crude oil, with the rest of the remaining coming from the compressed natural gas (CNG) as well as ethanol. The electric vehicle (EV) is composed of 1 percent of the two new transport systems, and the fuel cell vehicle (FCV) which is powered by hydrogen was well below this by 2 orders of magnitude.

Technically, all-electric cars are EVs as well as FCVs. The EV is electrically powered in a battery, whereas an FCV operates a fuel cell, so the hydrogen produces the electricity. FCVs benefit from recharging times similar to those of a gasoline-powered internal combustion engine (ICE) but suffer from the lack of facilities, high fuel costs, as well as technological challenges in keeping hydrogen on board in such a manner apart from the high-pressure hydrogen. Hydrogen also needs to be generated by reforming, gasification or electrolysis. In the United States, there are currently 46 hydrogen fuel facilities, many of them located in California, as opposed to over 150,000 petrol and diesel fuel stations.

Although the Department of Energy projections forecast about $4-6 for every gallon for the gasoline substitute (gge, whereby 1 kilogram hydrogen represents 1 gallon of gasoline in energy), real-world estimates have been $15/gge. EVs provide a connection between transport and energy relative to FCVs, and there is already extensive electricity grid capacity to carry electricity across the world. There are also benefits in terms of fuel cost as well as CO2 emissions for the Electric Vehicles compared to an ICE. The new CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) for the ICE is around 25 mpg.

This means that the automobiles in their fleet require having a fuel efficiency of about 25 mpg for a particular automobile company. The cost for every mile powered is $0.12 and use a standard pre-pandemic cost for the gasoline of $3 per gallon. We initially require the price of a gge to determine this for Electric cars. Using an average United States price of power of around $0.11 for every kWh (kilowatt-hour) as well as acknowledging that the electricity as a fuel is around 33.4 kWh per gge, the cost of electricity as a fuel is about $3.67 for every gge. 3.6 miles per kWh, is a standard fuel economy for Electric cars, so the price per mile propelled for an Electric car is $0.03, 1⁄4 of an Internal Combustion Engine.


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