Over at Tallbloke’s, there’s an article about Obama and his electric car promises
( a million on the road by last year, 150 Miles / US Gallon).
I did some math, and attempted to post a comment there from my tablet, and it failed, dropping the text in the process. That happens sometimes with the tablet ( I think it is a timeout of some kind from a long slow typing process). Rather than (painfully) do the math and type the text one finger at a time on the tablet again, I’ve decided to just put it up here as a posting. This also lets me flesh it out a lot more.
That article points to the original here:
Which has this “promise” critique of the 150 MPG claim:
Despite spending billions, Obama delivered less than half of the electric cars in the time frame he promised. And let’s not forget his insistence that these cars would achieve the equivalent of 150 miles per gallon. A 2016 US Department of Energy list of the 11 most efficient electric vehicles indicates that not a single one meets that criteria. BMW’s i3 achieves 124 miles per gallon. The Chevrolet Spark is in second place at 119, and Vokswagen’s e-Golf is in third at 116.
The 11 best-case-scenario electric vehicles on the road eight years later fall 25% short of what Obama said would be entirely normal. Between them, they average only 112 miles per gallon. In other words, Obama and his speech writers were pulling numbers out of the air in 2008, confidently promising to meet goals they had no reason to believe were actually feasible.
Which has me wondering where the fish I’m smelling is hiding…
First off, how in blazes can you claim any kind of Miles per Gallon for electricity?
I presume this has to be some kind of Money-Equivalent-to-Gallon. But when I “do the math” with my local costs, it is nowhere near even 124 MPG-$-Eqiv. Let’s do some math, shall we?
Telsa Model S gets about 250 miles / charge. (It varies some by model and type of driving…
yes, YMMV ;-)
It varies some by model and driving cycle, but several values are near 250. And no, I don’t drive 65 on the freeway.
Variant 65 mph Range 75 mph Range 85D2 295 249
Now here in California, electricity runs 19 ¢ / kW-hr at the low tier. Anything over your lifeline rate jumps up to 35 ¢ or so. The PUC presently has a rate plan for $0.50 “soon”. My home usually bumps over into the 35 ¢ tier when using the AC which has, thankfully, not been needed this cool summer. Not Once. ;-)
In the Central Valley with Time Of Day pricing, there is a tier of a couple of pennies under $1 for middle of the day middle of the summer (right when you need AC most and it is:
“110 F in the shade and there ain’t no shade. -E.M.Smith”).
I’m going to use the lowest tier of about 19 ¢ in the calculations, even though it is a bit bogus. Anyone who charges a Tesla with any regular use is going to blow through lifeline rate almost instantly… Oh, and any “special” rate for charging an electric car is just “Subsidy Farming”, so would need to be un-subsidied for the comparison anyway, so why bother with it. It is an economic lie to use that number when we know the real price for electrons in the non-subsidy market. That is, the PUC tariff for home use.
Pacific Gas and
San Francisco, California
ELECTRIC SCHEDULE A-1
SMALL GENERAL SERVICE
Schedule A-1 applies to single-phase and polyphase alternating-current service (for a description of these terms, see Section D of Rule 2*). This schedule is not available to residential or agricultural service for which a residential or agricultural schedule is applicable, except for single-phase and polyphase service in common areas in a multifamily complex (see Common-Area Accounts section). Customers that are otherwise eligible to take service on Schedule A-1, but are purchasing power to serve electric vehicle charging equipment, are not eligible to take service on this rate schedule.
Effective November 1, 2012, Schedule A-1 is closed to customers with a maximum demand of 75 kW or greater for three consecutive months in the most recent twelve months, or with usage of 150,000 kWh per year or greater, and who have at least twelve (12) months of hourly usage data available. Eligibility for A-1 will be reviewed annually and migration of ineligible customers will be implemented once per year, on bill cycles each November, using the same procedures described below for Time-of-Use (TOU) rates adopted in Decision 10-02-032 as modified by Decision 11-11-008.
So no car charging on the general tier tariff, how about that pure ‘residential’?
FWIW, there are dozens of odd tariffs listed on the top page, I’m only going to look at two of them, but you can amuse yourself with more if you like. This next one is the basic residential, not including all the time-of-use stuff:
This schedule is applicable to single-phase and polyphase residential service in single-family dwellings and in flats and apartments separately metered by PG&E; to single-phase and polyphase service in common areas in a multifamily complex (see Special Condition 8); and to all single-phase and polyphase farm service on the premises operated by the person whose residence is supplied through the same meter. The provisions of Schedule S—Standby Service Special Conditions 1 through 6 shall also apply to customers whose premises are regularly supplied in part (but not in whole) by electric energy from a nonutility source of supply. These customers will pay monthly reservation charges as specified under Section 1 of Schedule S, in addition to all applicable Schedule E-1 charges. See Special Conditions 11 and 12 of this rate schedule for exemptions to standby charges.
Customers receiving a medical baseline allowance shall pay for all usage in excess of 200 percent of baseline at a rate $0.04000 per kWh less than the applicable rate for usage in excess of 200 percent of baseline.
Total Energy Rates ($ per kWh)
101% – 200% of Baseline
Over 200% of Baseline
Somewhat different from the last bill I inspected, but then again I’m not sure just which tariff I’m on. At any rate, I’m going to use the 19 ¢ number and ignore the 24 ¢ tariff bit as it gets blown through pretty quick. “Baseline” varies by location and last time I looked was based on average use in your area. It MUST be below average by some amount, by definition, so also by definition, most folks are not below it… even before they buy that e-Car…
Pasting in a chart from the pdf didn’t work well at all, so you get my summary. It ranges from about 6.2 kW-hr / day to 12.6 for the “basic” home, and from 7.7 to 29.6 kW-hr/day for the All Electric home (highest value in the winter time block, dropping to 16.4 in the summer for that same location, so hope you don’t meed much AC…)
Now notice that to charge your Tesla is going to suck up somewhere between 2 and 10 DAYS of your total electric service at the lifeline tier. Poor folks need not apply for an electric car… or better not drive it more than every other weekend…
The Tesla has about a 70 kW-hr battery.
2016 Tesla Model S (70 kW-hr battery pack)
38 kWh/100 mi
While one wonders how they get to 89 MPGe, I’ll leave that for now. I’m more interested in my costs, here and now.
250 miles / 70 kW-hrs = 3.57 miles / kW-hr
The government number of 38 kW-hr / 100 miles gives:
100/38 kW-hr = 2.63 miles / kW-hr. Significantly worse, so I’m wondering how they got that number, but I’m going to use my number anyway.
19 ¢/kW-hr / 3.57 miles / Kw-hr = 5.32 ¢ / mile
Common cars in that class get about 30 miles / US gallon. It’s a wide range, but the new ones are quite good. Using a Diesel can get even better, but I’m looking at gasoline. Gasoline here sells for about $2.50 / US Gallon (often more with Super presently about $2.75, but cheaper in the Midwest). So:
$2.50 per gallon / 30 mpg = 8.33 ¢ / mile.
8.33 / 5.32 x 30 = 47 MPGe or Miles / gallon US equivalent by price.
Nice. Very nice in fact. But a very long way from 89 MPGe and not in the same State as 124 MPGe… or 150 MPGe.
Now what happens if we use the Midwest Regular gas price?
Right now, Gasbuddy has this listed for Oklahoma City, OK for Regular Unleaded:
2040 NW 10th St & N Pennsylvania Ave
Oklahoma City – NW
$1.72 / 30 = 5.7 ¢ / mile.
5.7 / 5.32 x 30 = 32 MPGe
Hmmm….. Clearly the MPG Equivalent is highly sensitive to the cost of a gallon…
But maybe it doesn’t cost 19 cents / kW-hr in Oklahoma… Some folks back there are paying a dime. So lets just call it a half of California rates. That would make it 64 MPGe. Very nice indeed, but still nowhere close to 89 or 124 or 150…
I note in passing that the electricity price is something else that the MPGe is very sensitive to…
But wait! I’m using “today pricing” for electricity in a world where I know that the California PUC has a $0.50 tariff on the planning boards (need to subsidize those solar and wind boondoggles, don’t you know…)
Furthermore, that “dime” rate is based on historical use of well depreciated coal plants. Facilities that Obama and Hillary have worked hard to kill. “Going forward” will not be based on cheap effective coal, but on more expensive new plant and very pricey solar and wind. So what tariff would that be? IMHO, it MUST be more than the 19 ¢ / kW-hr California Lifeline Rate. That is the MINIMUM that a household is expected to use just to get by at an OK minimal lifestyle. Oh, and California is consuming a lot of Arizona Palo Verde Nuclear power and a lot of Washington State hydro via the Pacific DC Intertie… and a whole lot of cheap and relatively efficient gas turbines. It isn’t like we’re running on the Solar & Wind Green Dream Power… and even with that, run your AC in summer or use anything but gas heat in winter and you are in the next tariff rate up.
So what this says to me is that the Electric Car MPGe is based on historical coal electricity costs, and very much not on the future power sources (whatever may survive Obama / Clinton) prices.
Aerodynamics dominates energy use by cars at freeway speeds. Most cars consume about the same energy/mile in town (acceleration) as they do on the freeway. Mass and drag are your factors. Everybody can get the same drag by designing the body right. Batteries add mass, but the regenerative breaking more or less makes up for that. Net, the e-car uses about the same energy as the gas car.
What changes the MPGe is assumptions about price of electrons vs price of gasoline, not energy used.
Price is supposed to reflect the combined efficiency and combined losses of the whole generation cycle. It often doesn’t as tariffs are set by political commissions, not competitive markets. Distortions of both gasoline and electricity costs via gas taxes, sales taxes, PUC rulings, subsidy farming solar and wind, and so much more makes direct comparison of MPGe in some ways an exercise in:
“Given these conclusions, what assumptions can we draw?”.
What is clear to me is that the 150 MPGe and the 124 MPGe and even the 64 to 47 MPGe figures are very price sensitive to both gasoline and electricity prices; AND the Global Warming / EPA / Obama Nation folks have all said “electricity prices must necessarily skyrocket” while fracking and horizontal drilling assure oil prices can’t.
Perhaps that is why the American Public is staying away from e-Cars in droves. They can look ahead while The Government can only see in the rear view mirror…