I just saw a story on this motorcycle.
Immediately, I’m irritated. To be precise, I’m irritated for the same reason I’m ALWAYS irritated when I see propaganda news stories on electric vehicles. I’ll explain that at the end.
This thing is touted as being totally awesome because it doesn’t use gasoline. During the course of the story these guys ride their electric cycles to a bar. They all get off and plug in.
The big thing about these vehicles is that they are “green”.
Now, lets review. They don’t go very far without having to plug their vehicle in to a power source.
Electricity is transported across wires. This “green” vehicle has all the same problems any green/electric vehicle has – the energy in a tank full of gas is a more efficient means of forming locomotion than the energy created in a far away power plant, transferred across wires, then transferred again to the battery, then finally into the engine. Every time you have to transfer already created energy from one place to another you lose a percentage of that energy. Electrical vehicles are not more efficient than gas powered combustion engines.
Electrical cars are also using the power supplied to them. That means that all electricity you pull out of your electrical outlet is the product of coal, natural gas, methane, trash burning and nuclear along with solar and wind. You can not determine how your electricity is produced unless you are on a closed and separate system. Electrical vehicles use just as much or more carbon related power as a conventional vehicle.
Electrical vehicles use TONS of seriously polluting processes to produce the batteries. The batteries have a short life, and like fluorescent bulbs, contain highly toxic components that require special and expensive recycling procedures that ultimately are much more polluting and require much more output of carbon related power than conventional cars.
All of that stuff is irritating when I’m smugged out by hybrid car owners who have no clue that their precious is, in fact, much worse on the environment than my conventional car.
But the thing that irritates me above and beyond all of the above is the way my local news station handles the whole electric car battery recharge. (The one Dad always listens too, WRC – the NBC affiliate in DC.) I hate that every time they approach this story they always always always say “And the recharge is free!!!”
Bullcrap. Argh. In the story about the motorcycles the guys on the bikes have to plug in to the bar’s power source. I want to know if they receive a bill for the power used or are they comped by the bar owner?
I’m just putting all you electric car/vehicle owners who want to come visit on notice – if you want to plug in to my power I expect you to pay for it. When I drive to your house I won’t show up with an empty tank and expect you to pour your lawnmower gas into my car and then require you to go get more until my tank is full, expecting you to bear the cost of that refill.
Energy is never “free”. Okay? Okay.