Blog of Veikko M.O.T. Nyfors, Hybrid Quantum ICT consultant

Quantum Mechanics demystified, a try

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Not going electric after all

Still a couple of years ago I was pretty convinced my next car would be a fully electric one. It would be the cheapest to run. It would preserve nature by not burning fossil fuel. And it’s very seldom I need to take trips longer than a 100 kilometers. For such trips I could rent a petrol car.

Pretty soon darks clouds started to show up on the sky with this.

Read a few articles on how people were traveling with electric cars e.g. in Finnish Lapland.
Charging stations are very sparsely located. Those were with very few quick power chargers, meaning you would need to use slower ones and spend hours and hours charging the car on the way. That on the other hand would also mean you wouldn’t be alone on the station, and would likely have to queue for your turn even.
Charging stations are also pretty vulnerable. When you get to one eventually, it may turn up you won’t even be able to charge your car. For this reason people have to make inquiries to charging station’s providers to make sure that station is in tact. Especially for the stations that are located most deserted. Even in this case it sometimes has turned up station is malfunctioning even if it was reported to be ok. Not a pleasant feeling being prisoned in your car in -30 degrees. With battery running out in an hour. One is better to be equipped with warm clothes and with some heaters running with fossil fuels. Well, all that I was probably guessing beforehand, and planned renting a fully fossil car for those trips.

Also the powergrid itself needs to get strengthened quite a lot if most transportation would get electrified.

During cold (>-20 Celsius) periods, charging takes longer time. A lot of power is consumed to warm up the car interiors. These might bring problems even for the shorter distances then.

Producing a new electric car is not sustainable at all.
Lots of carbondioxide is released during manufacturing process. To be more exact, amount of CO2 emission in manufacturing an electric car is somewhere in the class of 5 to 20 tons, depending on the size of the car and type of battery. Minerals and other raw materials, some of them very rare, are consumed in huge amounts. Specifically for battery minerals huge areas of untouched nature has been destroyed. Even whole lakes have been poisoned.
Of course new more sustainable battery techniques are being developed. But I wouldn’t hold my breath for those.

Even if electric car is not burning fossil fuel directly, preserving nature is fully dependent on how the electricity was produced. If it was by coal, gas or oil, electric car would be even a bigger threat to the climate than an ordinary car with combustion engine would be. Efficiency of producing electricity e.g. from coal is only 50-55%, you see.
Finland has been importing electricity from Russia. Who knows how it is produced there. Using coal in the worst case.
Lot’s of countries are importing fossil fuels from Russia and producing electricity of it. Coal again being the most evil one.

Also there is the problem of the battery aging, of which there is very little data yet available to draw any conclusions. What I have heard though, is that fairly new electric cars have been brought to service with failing battery. Surprise and disappointment has been quite a shock when the car shop announces a new battery has to be installed, old one being broken. That makes 20000 Euros. Thank You.

This starts to look I am not going to switch to fully electric car unless forced to do so.

Final nail to the coffin was a road trip to Ruka skiing resort. Round trip being almost 2000 Km. Consumption of diesel fuel on that trip was 4.1 l/100km. And I wasn’t blocking the road. I.e. not trying to save fuel. On the contrary, I wasn’t leader of the queue, rather I was tailing ones for short times and the again riding free. :-) During this trip I was producing less than 250 Kg of CO2 by the burnt diesel fuel. With this kind of consumption I will produce far less carbondioxide driving this kind of car for the rest of my life, compared to the 10000 Kg released while producing an average electric car. Not to mention wasted nature nor hazardous waste.

Luckily, here in Finland electricity is produced minimally with fossil fuels. And importing electricity from Russia is nowadays banned, I think. Thus riding electric car after having got hold of one is not a crime against climate here in Finland.
If electricity was produced to greater extent by fossil fuel, electric cars really should be banned on such countries.

The car by the way was a BMW 116d F20, 2012. How on earth we managed to pack winter sports gear of 4 in that kind of a car. That’s described in article The art of carpacking.

20221026, a note: Price of electricity at k-lataus is 35c/kWh currently. An ordinary electric car consumes about 30kWh per 100 km. Ending up on cost of approximately 10e/100km. With my BMW current costs are 4*2.22e/100km. I.e. about the same.