Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Battery Electric Automobiles: A Passing Fad?

Virtue is widely attributed to those driving an electric car rather than a carbon-emitting gas-guzzler. It is questionable, however, whether propulsion dependent on half a ton or more of lithium ion batteries is any easier on the environment than use of an internal combustion engine. For one thing, battery electric cars come with a substantial up-front carbon-emission cost relating to the mining of lithium for the battery. For another thing, much of the electricity that powers battery electric cars, whether in the US, China, or Europe, is generated by carbon-dioxide-emitting, coal-fired generating stations. 

But batteries are not the only way to power electric cars. This is evident from the recent development of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles (and here) that offer the power and performance of a Tesla S without the massive weight, cost and negative environmental impact of a battery. These are one off vehicles, but they demonstrate an electric vehicle technology with which Tesla and other battery electric car makers may soon find themselves having to compete. 

Another way to make automobile use carbon neutral would be to remove from the atmosphere carbon dioxide equivalent to that emitted by gas-powered automobiles. The cost of so doing could be very much less than the cost of switching to electric propulsion. For example, combustion of a litre of gasoline produces 2.3 kilograms of carbon dioxide. The cost of extracting 2.3 kilograms of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere with technology now at an advanced stage of development would be around 15 cents. Thus a moderate charge added to the price gasoline (about 50 cents per US gallon), if applied to the creation and operation of carbon capture plants, would make gas-powered automobiles carbon neutral. For the motorist driving 10,000 kilometers per year, that would add $580.00 to their yearly motoring cost, which is less than the cost of trading a standard automobile for a Tesla.

But whatever may be the outcome of technology competition at the high end of the electric vehicle market, it will be at the bottom end of the market that electric vehicles with small batteries and short range are most likely to win out, as they already have in China. There, the clunky looking, short-range Hongguang Mini is selling a million copies a year at a cost competitive with the cheapest gas powered automobiles. Such vehicles, if made available with better styling will likely prove hugely popular as city runabout/commuter cars in Western markets. Introduction of such vehicles to Western markets will be delayed however, as established automakers strive to avoid undercutting sales of more expensive family-sized sedans and SUVs, whether gas or electric.

Another type of low emission vehicle is the plug-in hybrid for which there is a considerable present demand. There is no doubt such vehicles can save much gas. But the plug-in hybrid is, like the big battery electric, a clunky solution, having two full drive trains, one electric, the other dependent on an internal combustion engine. This makes for high cost, high vehicle weight, and hence a vehicle with a high embodied carbon content. so although the plug-in hybrid will play an interim role in the transition to low carbon transportation, it does not constitute an likely end product of automobile evolution.


Electric Vehicles May Present Major Problem During Natural Disaster Evacuations

Electric Cars – Want One? I don’t think so!!


  1. "We investigated T and B cell immunity against B.1.1.529 in triple mRNA vaccinated healthcare workers (HCW) with different SARS-CoV-2 infection histories. B and T cell immunity against previous variants of concern was enhanced in triple vaccinated individuals, but magnitude of T and B cell responses against B.1.1.529 spike protein was reduced. Immune imprinting by infection with the earlier B.1.1.7 (Alpha) variant resulted in less durable binding antibody against B.1.1.529. Previously infection-naïve HCW who became infected during the B.1.1.529 wave showed enhanced immunity against earlier variants, but reduced nAb potency and T cell responses against B.1.1.529 itself. Previous Wuhan Hu-1 infection abrogated T cell recognition and any enhanced cross-reactive neutralizing immunity on infection with B.1.1.529."

    I got the above-quoted following a link from the article you linked to,

    “There’s No Herd Immunity and Covid is Still Wreaking Havoc,” Says Imperial Professor of Immunology

    This is some bad, bad news, CS.

    Do you remember the Journal of Immunology article I linked to not all that long ago? The one speaking of the phenomena of "original sin" and the way the immune systems responses to earlier infections of variants will condition later responses to new variants?

    This article from Science is now confirming this is the case with Covid19 and variants.

    I agree with Danny Altmann's assessment of the danger of the situation.

    It might be the successive waves of infection by variants of Covid19 doesn't seem very serious if the sickness is comparable to seasonal flu, unless you realize seasonal flu does require missed school or work. Then add in people getting infected again a few weeks after recovering from the previous infection. (That, I don't recall from the seasonal flu.)

    If people are going to need to call in sick three or four times a year (maybe more--who knows) from now on, the disruption is going to be considerable.

    I learned from this article about something being called "long covid". I'm not dismissive. If there is such a thing, indeed this will become another serious burden on our health systems and societies in general:

    I read both the Science article and the one in Daily Sceptic fairly carefully. Then I read the comments below the latter article. I may be parting company with the scamdemic crowd. Atlmann is not a fear monger. He is not advocating vaccination, either. The scamdemic people are starting to see everything it doesn't understand as in either one of those categories. They are starting to become blind to nuance and complexity.

  2. Yes, interesting and slightly disturbing. If repeated infection leads to reduced resistance to novel viral strains, Covid will surely take a toll of elderly useless eaters such as CanSpeccy. Could that have been the objective in the creation of the virus?

    Similar concerns to those you raise are discussed in a British Columbia magazine, The Tyee: Get Ready for the Forever Plague.

    Re: email contact, I have been attempting to setup a canspeccy email account. I did have one with gmail, but I've forgotten the password and Google insists on sending the code needed to change the password to an email account on a no longer existent server. Other email services want my cell phone number which i don't wish to reveal since I assume they will sell it to spammers. But I will keep working on this.

    1. But taking a look at that article in the Tyee, I am not sure it makes a whole lot of sense. Your references, and Original Antigenic Sin article by Zhang et al. in the J. of Immunology are more useful.

  3. "If repeated infection leads to reduced resistance to novel viral strains, Covid will surely take a toll of elderly useless eaters such as CanSpeccy. Could that have been the objective in the creation of the virus?"

    You certainly have my prayers, and I have been distressed by your recent bouts of sickness.

    Yet as much as I worry about the elderly, I am now more concerned about what is going to happen to children. Children! They could so easily have been scratched off my list of things to go neurotic about.

    Look at this:

    (1) We have an entirely new "vaccine" technology using mRNA. It is rushed into use under the pretext of emergency. It doesn't seem to work very well. (I don't want to get into all of it.) Most troublingly, growing evidence shows a weakening immune responses to new variants. (What are we on now? The third or the fourth new variant since the original Wuhan virus? How many more are coming?);
    (2) Nevertheless, we extend mRNA "vaccination" to children as young as six months. The USA is proud to be the first to do so, or at least Biden is. (Can he resign now that BoJo has?);
    (3) FDA granted emergency use authorization procedures to expedite approval. I cannot wrap my head around how they would have been able to justify this to themselves. I am quite sure they could not do so to the scientific community.
    (4) Efficacy studies of the "vaccine" in toddlers seem deficient. The Moderna study used only 250 toddlers; the Pfizer-- can you believe it-- a mere 21! Pfizer also truncated its study before conclusion. Of the 21 in its study, only 10 had received the three doses Pfizer was requiring. (Pfizer had originally planned only two doses, but was allowed by the FDA to go to three due to not getting the desired result after just two.)
    (5)In the background of all the short cuts and decisions made for what may be political rather than scientific reasons, lurks the stark reality we've removed the penalties for such terrible behavior. There's no legal liability. And now it is children we're talking about.

    In my opinion, the efficacy of the vaccine in children has not be adequately established. From what we have before us, it is much less than the efficacy of the vaccine approved for adults against the original Wuhan strain.

    But now combine this with the potential effects of "immunological imprinting" (which appears to be the more acceptable way of terming "original antigenic sin".)

    Children have many, many years ahead of them. (Hopefully.) They will face many, many waves of variants. (Apparently. I for one am beginning to accept the reality of this.) They will need a strong and resilient immune system. If immune imprinting is in play, they will now have weakened immune responses.

    The Science article co-authored by Altmann gave further evidence natural immunity is superior. They dated the immunity to last fifty weeks or so, compared to the very short immunity, for those who do get immunity, from the "vaccines". Fifty weeks-- that's about the amount of immunity we used to have from one seasonal flu to the next. It is the diminished time cycle from flu to flu I find worrisome.

    As a side note, children returning to school after school closures and lockdowns are more "immunologically naive" than they would otherwise have been, and thus more prone to illness.

  4. And there is space here for comments about electric cars too!