Electric cars, are they just shifting pollution?

15 April, 2017

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for electric cars and renewable energy and better solutions for humanity and the reality of an electric car is if you charge it from mains power you are not making any difference to the environmental impact on the earth, I like to call this shifting the load. At the moment we burn fuel to drive our cars we see the pollution we are creating out of our exhaust pipes and we don’t like that. Now what I mean by shitting the load is if you charge your electric car from the grid you are still creating just as much pollution as burning fuel, the pollution is just shifted to where the power station is creating the electricity for your car. Until we get 100% renewable energy from our grids or you can charge you car at home with solar you are doing very little for the benefit of the environment. You are better off using public transport and riding a push bike.

Charging your electric car from home is quite a challenge, and I know it’s a challenge as I am planning to do it and it a huge exercise and a very large financial cost. Now for our family we spend $20,000 to buy our energy system which has a lifespan of 25 years guaranteed and will supply enough energy to run our home for 3-5 days without any production. It can rain for almost 5 days and we will be ok.

Now if we wanted to charge our electric car from home we would require a system almost twice the size of what we have now and depending on your driving styles on how you charge it is going to be the key to making it work for you and your family.

If you charge the car at night and it requires a full charge you are going to want 15kws of energy for a car that has a range of about 50klms on electric. If you plan to charge this from your batteries you will want a very large battery bank if your plan to run your car and your home on batteries. The easy way to charge your car from your home solar system is do it of a day and that is the hard part for most people is they are normally at work all day! Charging at home of a day works for my family as I drop my wife to work in the morning and I work from home most days. To charge your electric car this way you will require more solar panels. Solar panels are cheaper than batteries, To create 15 kws of energy you will require what most solar guys would call a 3kwh system.

For my situation we have a 1.6Kw system for the house and a 3.2kw system for the car, all up we will have a system that can produce 4.8kw. This will work for me as the car can sit on charge in the peak hours when the sun is shining and it doesn’t take the power from our batteries. We also have a very low energy usage at home of only 5kwh per day.

If you want to charge you car of a night and run your home you will require about the same in panels and also my battery bank has a storage capacity of 12 khw usable energy. To get another 15 kwh of storage capacity I would be required to add at least 2 more battery banks which financially would be about $20,000. for any type of battery weather it be lead acid, lithium or Nife Cells. In reality you would require to invest about $30,000.00 into extras for your current system to run your car purely on renewable energy to actually make a difference to the world!

If we all reduced our load’s on how often we drive our cars and used public transport more or rode a bike, until our grids are 100% renewable energy when purchasing an electric car you are just shifting where you leave your pollution. Its bit like what has happened with Australia and its manufacturing, we have moved everything off shore so it reduces the carbon footprint on energy used in Australia and it’s just shifted it to China for all the stuff we want made and then we are having it all transported back here? Strange world we live in.

Point being unless you can power your electric car from 100% renewables you are not making any difference to the fuels we all burn from the planet. For us all to go electric we require to work as a team with the grid our neighbors and our fellow humans to really make this happen.

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