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resistance to carfree

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  • kyle3054
    Over on TheOilDrum there s an article about electric cars. [http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/5137] Ugo Bardi writes, this is the way all cars should be:
    Message 1 of 7 , Apr 2, 2009
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      Over on TheOilDrum there's an article about electric cars. [http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/5137%5d Ugo Bardi writes,

      "this is the way all cars should be: silent, cheap and zero emission."

      When I (posting as "Kiashu") suggested that the quietest, cheapest, and lowest emissions car of all was no car, quite some hostility erupted.

      "It's impossible, and even if it's possible it's not what we really want," and so on. The usual points I make are what's been discussed so often here and in the newsletter, to point to the examples of relatively carfree neighbourhoods and cities. Places with open squares, few or narrow roads, lots of public transport and services, and few or no cars, these are the places with the highest real estate values, and the great tourist cities.

      Since these places exist, they must be possible; and since people will pay millions to live in these places and sit in cramped metal tubes for hours on end to visit them, this suggests they're desired.

      Yet there's such resistance to the idea, people become quite hostile and defensive. It's strange.

      Cheers,
      Kyle
      http://greenwithagun.blogspot.com/
    • Christopher Miller
      ... I know exactly what you re talking about! I follow Treehugger for the often worthwhile pieces they post on environmental issues. Unfortunately, they are as
      Message 2 of 7 , Apr 2, 2009
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        On 2-Apr-09, at 5:55 AM, kyle3054 wrote:

        > Over on TheOilDrum there's an article about electric cars. [http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/5137
        > ] Ugo Bardi writes,
        >
        > "this is the way all cars should be: silent, cheap and zero emission."
        >
        > When I (posting as "Kiashu") suggested that the quietest, cheapest,
        > and lowest emissions car of all was no car, quite some hostility
        > erupted.
        >
        > "It's impossible, and even if it's possible it's not what we really
        > want," and so on. The usual points I make are what's been discussed
        > so often here and in the newsletter, to point to the examples of
        > relatively carfree neighbourhoods and cities. Places with open
        > squares, few or narrow roads, lots of public transport and services,
        > and few or no cars, these are the places with the highest real
        > estate values, and the great tourist cities.
        >
        > Since these places exist, they must be possible; and since people
        > will pay millions to live in these places and sit in cramped metal
        > tubes for hours on end to visit them, this suggests they're desired.
        >
        > Yet there's such resistance to the idea, people become quite hostile
        > and defensive. It's strange.
        >

        I know exactly what you're talking about! I follow Treehugger for the
        often worthwhile pieces they post on environmental issues.
        Unfortunately, they are as stuck in the "green cars" mindset as the
        mainstream, so much so that I sometimes think they should just call
        themselves "Carhugger" instead. From time to time I post comments to
        the effect that there is no such thing as a "green car" unless that
        describes its paint job. I go over the same kind of pints as you did,
        to the effect that leaving aside the relative environment-friendliness
        of the energy source used to power personal automobiles, they by their
        nature force us into wasteful land-use patterns which are inevitably
        more energy-intensive to maintain (and so on...). (See http://www.buildinggreen.com/press/transportation_energy_intensity.cfm
        for statistics showing that transportation energy use to get to and
        from buildings exceeds their operational consumption by some 30 per
        cent.)

        I'm probably one of the more vexatious gadflies on the list, and my
        comments are inevitably met with rejoinders like "cars aren't going
        anywhere - get used to it", that cars mean freedom and what I'm
        proposing is communist tyranny and the like... Treehugger's audience
        is mainly from the US, as opposed to Oil Drum Europe, of course, so
        much of the opposition to my postings comes from cultural assumptions
        imbued in much of the American public over more than a half century.

        Yet even from the standpoint of energy efficiency, moving to an all-
        electric fleet of private automobiles seems to have as many weaknesses
        as any of the biofuels or hydrogen scenarios that were the flavour of
        the day at the beginning of this decade. Two such problems I see with
        happy electromotoring:

        1. The assumption seems to be that we will all plug in our spanking
        new e-mobile at night (this being when electric consumption is
        typically lower) to recharge it for a day's worth of motoring. But at
        the same time, a full battery apparently only gives you about 100
        miles (i.e. 160 km) of driving, which certainly put a crimp on long-
        distance driving unless an infrastructure is put in place for daytime
        recharging or (and this will only be dependable if a narrow range of
        standard battery technologies and formats are adopted) battery
        exchange, both solutions I have seen proposed. I *really* have a
        difficult time believing that people would not take to recharging
        their e-mobiles in the daytime, thereby increasing the demand for
        electrical generation.

        I have yet to see anyone really explore all the implications of what
        battery-powered electric cars would mean for electric consumption and
        compare that with what can safely be sustained.

        2. What are the power requirements for private electric automobiles to
        carry a given proportion of the population compared to those of a
        fleet of electrically powered public transit vehicles to carry the
        same proportion? Just as less space is required for a mass transit-
        based system (think of the famous Münster cars/bus/bicycles poster
        here), I suspect that less energy is required to carry the same number
        of people in a single tram, metro or bus than in individual cars (and
        of course it is a given that it will be far less if a significant
        number are using human powered wheeled transport or walking because of
        better urban design). I don't know if anyone has done the numbers to
        compare the modes: anyone here know?

        Christopher Miller
        Montreal QC Canada
      • Richard Risemberg
        ... The space cars take up may be a bigger issue than energy use or pollution. (GHG gases are another huge issue, present with electrics too, just less so.)
        Message 3 of 7 , Apr 2, 2009
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          On Apr 2, 2009, at 12:35 PM, Christopher Miller wrote:

          > Yet even from the standpoint of energy efficiency, moving to an all-
          > electric fleet of private automobiles seems to have as many weaknesses
          > as any of the biofuels or hydrogen scenarios that were the flavour of
          > the day at the beginning of this decade.

          The space cars take up may be a bigger issue than energy use or
          pollution. (GHG gases are another huge issue, present with electrics
          too, just less so.) I wrote a little blurb on that long ago:

          http://www.bicyclefixation.com/meth.htm
          >
          >
          > 2. What are the power requirements for private electric automobiles to
          > carry a given proportion of the population compared to those of a
          > fleet of electrically powered public transit vehicles to carry the
          > same proportion? Just as less space is required for a mass transit-
          > based system (think of the famous Münster cars/bus/bicycles poster
          > here), I suspect that less energy is required to carry the same number
          > of people in a single tram, metro or bus than in individual cars (and
          > of course it is a given that it will be far less if a significant
          > number are using human powered wheeled transport or walking because of
          > better urban design). I don't know if anyone has done the numbers to
          > compare the modes: anyone here know?


          I don't know what it is for passenger vehicles, but freight trains
          typically use 1/3 to 1/4 the energy per ton-mile as do trucks.
          --
          Richard Risemberg
          http://www.bicyclefixation.com
          http://www.newcolonist.com
          http://www.rickrise.com







          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Christopher Miller
          ... Oh, I don t think we re likely to come to fisticuffs over that point any time soon! :-) I am pretty much convinced that mitigating demand by increasing
          Message 4 of 7 , Apr 2, 2009
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            On 2-Apr-09, at 3:45 PM, Richard Risemberg wrote:

            > On Apr 2, 2009, at 12:35 PM, Christopher Miller wrote:
            >
            > (...)
            >
            > The space cars take up may be a bigger issue than energy use or
            > pollution. (GHG gases are another huge issue, present with electrics
            > too, just less so.) I wrote a little blurb on that long ago (...)
            >

            Oh, I don't think we're likely to come to fisticuffs over that point
            any time soon! :-)

            I am pretty much convinced that mitigating demand by increasing
            mobility by proximity plus making mass transit the dominant distance
            mode is the only truly sustainable answer. The BuildingGreen.com page
            I linked to amply illustrates the external costs rarely if ever
            factored into "green building", even if this is only one of many
            issues with the way we currently manage urban infrastructure. I'm
            pasting the content of that link into the end of this message.

            My point is that even if we put aside this obvious (to us at least)
            problem, the whole rush to electric cars as the latest way of saving
            The Sacred Right to Drive Everywhere seems to me to pose as many
            insoluble difficulties with respect to energy consumption as the
            "hydrogen economy" or biofuels did for that and other reasons. I am
            pretty sure my hypothesis would turn out right with respect to
            increasing demand on the electric grid, but as for anything else, the
            proof of the pudding is in the eating and I'd really be interested in
            seeing actual figures that would bear out my hunch.

            Here's the text from the BuildingGreen.com page I cited:

            =========================================================
            http://www.buildinggreen.com/press/transportation_energy_intensity.cfm
            9/5/07
            Contact:
            Jerelyn Wilson
            802-257-7300 ext. 102
            Jerelyn@...

            Energy Consumption Getting to and From Buildings Exceeds Energy Use
            for Operations
            Brattleboro, VT — An examination of the “transportation energy
            intensity” of buildings has found that getting people to and from
            buildings uses more energy than the buildings themselves consume. The
            lead article in the September 2007 issue of Environmental Building
            News shows that for an average office building in the United States,
            30 percent more energy is expended by office workers commuting to and
            from the building than is consumed by the building itself for heating,
            cooling, lighting, and other energy uses. For an office building built
            to modern energy codes (ASHRAE 90.1-2004), more than twice as much
            energy is used by commuters than by the building.

            “This was a huge surprise,” says Environmental Building News (EBN)
            executive editor Alex Wilson, author of the article. “I knew that
            transportation energy requirements were significant, but I was amazed
            at the differences.” For the article, Wilson collected average U.S.
            data for commute distance, vehicle fuel economy, the split among
            different commuting options, and the number of square feet of building
            per office worker to normalize transportation energy intensity in Btu/
            square foot per year. He was then able to compare that transportation
            energy intensity to the average building energy use (also in Btu/ft2-
            yr) for average existing office buildings and energy code-compliant
            buildings (see table below).

            Comparing Transportation and Operating Energy Use for an Office Building

            U.S. Units

            Metric Units

            Average U.S. commute distance – one way (1)

            12.2 mi

            19.6 km

            U.S. average vehicle fuel economy – 2006 (2)

            21.0 mi/gal

            8.9 km/liter

            Work days

            235 days/yr

            Annual fuel consumption

            273 gal/year

            1033 liters/year

            Annual fuel consumption per automobile commuter (3)

            33,900 kBtu/yr

            9,890 kWh/yr

            Transportation energy use per employee (4)

            27,700 kBtu/yr

            8,100 kWh/yr

            Average office building occupancy (5)

            230 ft2/person

            21.3 m2/person

            Transportation energy use for average office building

            121 kBtu/ft2

            381.2 kWh/m2

            Operating energy use for average office building (6)

            92.9 kBtu/ft2-yr

            292.7 kWh/m2-yr

            Operating energy use for code-compliant office building (6, 7)

            51.0 kBtu/ft2-yr

            160.7 kWh/m2-yr

            Percent transportation energy use exceeds operation energy use for an
            average office building

            30.2%

            Percent transportation energy use exceeds operation energy use for an
            office building built to ASHRAE 90.1-2004 code

            137%

            1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Transportation Energy Data Book
            26th Edition, 2007, Table 8.6
            2. U.S. EPA Light-Duty Automotive Technology and Fuel Economy Trends:
            1975 Through 2006
            3. Assumes 124,000 Btu/gallon of gasoline, DOE Energy Information
            Administration data
            4. Assumes 76.3% commute in single-occupancy vehicle, 11.2% carpool (2
            per car) and no other energy use (commuting transportation modes from
            U.S. DOT Transportation Energy Data Book 26th Edition, 2007, Table 8.14.
            5. U.S. General Services Administration
            6. This includes site energy only, not source energy. U.S. DOE Energy
            Information Administration Commercial Building Energy Consumption
            Survey (CBECS) data for 2003, published June 2006.
            7. Bruce Hunn, ASHRAE, personal communication
            Source: Environmental Building News, September 2007
            “The green building community has expended tremendous effort to reduce
            the operating energy use of buildings,” notes Wilson, “but very little
            effort to reduce the transportation energy use of those buildings.” He
            would like to see this change. “To achieve widely shared goals for
            dealing with climate change,” says Wilson, “we simply can’t ignore the
            energy consumption getting to and from our buildings.”

            Many of the strategies for reducing the transportation energy
            intensity of buildings relate to location. The September EBN article,
            “Driving to Green Buildings: The Transportation Energy Intensity of
            Buildings,” reviews a wide range of strategies for reducing vehicle
            use. Such strategies are often lumped under the heading “transit-
            oriented development” and include increasing development density,
            creating mixed-use development, providing various forms of public
            transit, restricting parking, and creating more pedestrian-friendly
            streetscapes. “Although progressive urban planners have been
            advocating for such development features for years,” says Wilson, “the
            building industry has only recently begun paying attention to these
            issues.”

            In an editorial in the same issue of EBN, Wilson calls for changes to
            the LEED Rating System to make the credits relating to location and
            transportation performance-based, rather than prescriptive. “While the
            prescriptive approach in LEED to site and transportation issues has
            served an important role,” Wilson says in the editorial, “it’s time to
            provide a more rigorous basis for these credits.”

            The full article on transportation energy intensity and the
            accompanying editorial can be accessed at www.BuildingGreen.com. These
            articles are part of BuildingGreen Suite, a leading online resource on
            green building. While this is a paid-access site (with members paying
            $199 per year) these articles are provided free as a sampling of
            content. Environment Building News is the oldest and one of the most
            respected sources of green building information in North America.
            Celebrating its 15th year of publication in 2007, EBN has never
            carried advertising and is supported entirely by subscription revenue.
            For information, visit www.BuildingGreen.com, or call 800-861-0954
            (outside the U.S. and Canada, call 802-257-7300). BuildingGreen is an
            independent, socially responsible, 20-person company based in
            Brattleboro, Vermont.

            Editors: BuildingGreen president Alex Wilson is available for
            interviews on the issue of transportation energy intensity of
            buildings. To arrange an interview, contact Jerelyn Wilson
            (802-257-7300 ext. 102; Jerelyn@...).


            =========================================================

            Christopher Miller
            Montreal QC Canada
          • Jon Koller
            Is anyone aware of any academic work comparing predicted or observed energy consumption for various patterns of development on a modal basis? Or various
            Message 5 of 7 , Apr 2, 2009
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              Is anyone aware of any academic work comparing predicted or observed
              energy consumption for various patterns of development on a modal
              basis? Or various combinations of modes?

              -Jon
              www.prettygoodcity.com

              On Thu, Apr 2, 2009 at 4:04 PM, Christopher Miller
              <christophermiller@...> wrote:
              >
              > On 2-Apr-09, at 3:45 PM, Richard Risemberg wrote:
              >
              >> On Apr 2, 2009, at 12:35 PM, Christopher Miller wrote:
              >>
              >> (...)
              >>
              >> The space cars take up may be a bigger issue than energy use or
              >> pollution. (GHG gases are another huge issue, present with electrics
              >> too, just less so.) I wrote a little blurb on that long ago (...)
              >>
              >
              > Oh, I don't think we're likely to come to fisticuffs over that point
              > any time soon! :-)
              >
              > I am pretty much convinced that mitigating demand by increasing
              > mobility by proximity plus making mass transit the dominant distance
              > mode is the only truly sustainable answer. The BuildingGreen.com page
              > I linked to amply illustrates the external costs rarely if ever
              > factored into "green building", even if this is only one of many
              > issues with the way we currently manage urban infrastructure. I'm
              > pasting the content of that link into the end of this message.
              >
              > My point is that even if we put aside this obvious (to us at least)
              > problem, the whole rush to electric cars as the latest way of saving
              > The Sacred Right to Drive Everywhere seems to me to pose as many
              > insoluble difficulties with respect to energy consumption as the
              > "hydrogen economy" or biofuels did for that and other reasons. I am
              > pretty sure my hypothesis would turn out right with respect to
              > increasing demand on the electric grid, but as for anything else, the
              > proof of the pudding is in the eating and I'd really be interested in
              > seeing actual figures that would bear out my hunch.
              >
              > Here's the text from the BuildingGreen.com page I cited:
              >
              > =========================================================
              > http://www.buildinggreen.com/press/transportation_energy_intensity.cfm
              > 9/5/07
              > Contact:
              > Jerelyn Wilson
              > 802-257-7300 ext. 102
              > Jerelyn@...
              >
              > Energy Consumption Getting to and From Buildings Exceeds Energy Use
              > for Operations
              > Brattleboro, VT — An examination of the “transportation energy
              > intensity” of buildings has found that getting people to and from
              > buildings uses more energy than the buildings themselves consume. The
              > lead article in the September 2007 issue of Environmental Building
              > News shows that for an average office building in the United States,
              > 30 percent more energy is expended by office workers commuting to and
              > from the building than is consumed by the building itself for heating,
              > cooling, lighting, and other energy uses. For an office building built
              > to modern energy codes (ASHRAE 90.1-2004), more than twice as much
              > energy is used by commuters than by the building.
              >
              > “This was a huge surprise,” says Environmental Building News (EBN)
              > executive editor Alex Wilson, author of the article. “I knew that
              > transportation energy requirements were significant, but I was amazed
              > at the differences.” For the article, Wilson collected average U.S.
              > data for commute distance, vehicle fuel economy, the split among
              > different commuting options, and the number of square feet of building
              > per office worker to normalize transportation energy intensity in Btu/
              > square foot per year. He was then able to compare that transportation
              > energy intensity to the average building energy use (also in Btu/ft2-
              > yr) for average existing office buildings and energy code-compliant
              > buildings (see table below).
              >
              > Comparing Transportation and Operating Energy Use for an Office Building
              >
              > U.S. Units
              >
              > Metric Units
              >
              > Average U.S. commute distance – one way (1)
              >
              > 12.2 mi
              >
              > 19.6 km
              >
              > U.S. average vehicle fuel economy – 2006  (2)
              >
              > 21.0 mi/gal
              >
              >  8.9 km/liter
              >
              > Work days
              >
              > 235 days/yr
              >
              > Annual fuel consumption
              >
              > 273 gal/year
              >
              > 1033 liters/year
              >
              > Annual fuel consumption per automobile commuter (3)
              >
              > 33,900 kBtu/yr
              >
              > 9,890 kWh/yr
              >
              > Transportation energy use per employee (4)
              >
              > 27,700 kBtu/yr
              >
              > 8,100 kWh/yr
              >
              > Average office building occupancy (5)
              >
              > 230 ft2/person
              >
              > 21.3 m2/person
              >
              > Transportation energy use for average office building
              >
              > 121 kBtu/ft2
              >
              > 381.2 kWh/m2
              >
              > Operating energy use for average office building (6)
              >
              > 92.9 kBtu/ft2-yr
              >
              > 292.7 kWh/m2-yr
              >
              > Operating energy use for code-compliant office building (6, 7)
              >
              > 51.0 kBtu/ft2-yr
              >
              > 160.7 kWh/m2-yr
              >
              > Percent transportation energy use exceeds operation energy use for an
              > average office building
              >
              > 30.2%
              >
              > Percent transportation energy use exceeds operation energy use for an
              > office building built to ASHRAE 90.1-2004 code
              >
              > 137%
              >
              > 1. U.S. Department of Transportation, Transportation Energy Data Book
              > 26th Edition, 2007, Table 8.6
              > 2. U.S. EPA Light-Duty Automotive Technology and Fuel Economy Trends:
              > 1975 Through 2006
              > 3. Assumes 124,000 Btu/gallon of gasoline, DOE Energy Information
              > Administration data
              > 4. Assumes 76.3% commute in single-occupancy vehicle, 11.2% carpool (2
              > per car) and no other energy use (commuting transportation modes from
              > U.S. DOT Transportation Energy Data Book 26th Edition, 2007, Table 8.14.
              > 5. U.S. General Services Administration
              > 6. This includes site energy only, not source energy. U.S. DOE Energy
              > Information Administration Commercial Building Energy Consumption
              > Survey (CBECS) data for 2003, published June 2006.
              > 7. Bruce Hunn, ASHRAE, personal communication
              > Source: Environmental Building News, September 2007
              > “The green building community has expended tremendous effort to reduce
              > the operating energy use of buildings,” notes Wilson, “but very little
              > effort to reduce the transportation energy use of those buildings.” He
              > would like to see this change. “To achieve widely shared goals for
              > dealing with climate change,” says Wilson, “we simply can’t ignore the
              > energy consumption getting to and from our buildings.”
              >
              > Many of the strategies for reducing the transportation energy
              > intensity of buildings relate to location. The September EBN article,
              > “Driving to Green Buildings: The Transportation Energy Intensity of
              > Buildings,” reviews a wide range of strategies for reducing vehicle
              > use. Such strategies are often lumped under the heading “transit-
              > oriented development” and include increasing development density,
              > creating mixed-use development, providing various forms of public
              > transit, restricting parking, and creating more pedestrian-friendly
              > streetscapes. “Although progressive urban planners have been
              > advocating for such development features for years,” says Wilson, “the
              > building industry has only recently begun paying attention to these
              > issues.”
              >
              > In an editorial in the same issue of EBN, Wilson calls for changes to
              > the LEED Rating System to make the credits relating to location and
              > transportation performance-based, rather than prescriptive. “While the
              > prescriptive approach in LEED to site and transportation issues has
              > served an important role,” Wilson says in the editorial, “it’s time to
              > provide a more rigorous basis for these credits.”
              >
              > The full article on transportation energy intensity and the
              > accompanying editorial can be accessed at www.BuildingGreen.com. These
              > articles are part of BuildingGreen Suite, a leading online resource on
              > green building. While this is a paid-access site (with members paying
              > $199 per year) these articles are provided free as a sampling of
              > content. Environment Building News is the oldest and one of the most
              > respected sources of green building information in North America.
              > Celebrating its 15th year of publication in 2007, EBN has never
              > carried advertising and is supported entirely by subscription revenue.
              > For information, visit www.BuildingGreen.com, or call 800-861-0954
              > (outside the U.S. and Canada, call 802-257-7300). BuildingGreen is an
              > independent, socially responsible, 20-person company based in
              > Brattleboro, Vermont.
              >
              > Editors: BuildingGreen president Alex Wilson is available for
              > interviews on the issue of transportation energy intensity of
              > buildings. To arrange an interview, contact Jerelyn Wilson
              > (802-257-7300 ext. 102; Jerelyn@...).
              >
              >
              > =========================================================
              >
              > Christopher Miller
              > Montreal QC  Canada
              >
              >
              >
              > ------------------------------------
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
            • kyle3054
              Christopher Miller wrote: comments are inevitably met with rejoinders like cars aren t going anywhere - get used to it , [KS] That s
              Message 6 of 7 , Apr 2, 2009
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                Christopher Miller <christophermiller@...> wrote:
                "comments are inevitably met with rejoinders like "cars aren't going
                anywhere - get used to it","

                [KS] That's a common argument for lots of things, that it's inevitable. But if it's inevitable then it doesn't need to be so vigorously defended :) Nobody vigorously defends a brick's fall to the ground if you let go of it, it just happens and anyone who doubts it is ignored, not attacked.

                [CM] "The assumption seems to be that we will all plug in our spanking new e-mobile at night"

                [KS] Many regions already have different rates for "peak" (during the day) and "off-peak" (basically, midnight to 6am) electricity use. And the idea of "smart meters" - electricity meters sitting inside your house so you can see immediately how much you're using and what it costs - is slowly spreading. So in principle you could encourage people to only recharge at night just with the lower price and the information right in their face about it.

                Of course if you had the same off/peak rate and only dumb meters then you'd get that problem, yes. But this just shows that anything by itself works badly, you need a combination of measures to make it work well.

                Incidentally, you could do it with regular power leads, nothing special required. A typical battery capacity for these cars is 8kWh, to recharge that in 8 hours draws as much current as your toaster. So you'd need a bit of insulation on your power cord to stop it getting too hot, but apart from that, easily done.

                [CM] "But at the same time, a full battery apparently only gives you about 100 miles (i.e. 160 km) of driving, which certainly put a crimp on long-distance driving unless an infrastructure is put in place"

                [KS] While this is a problem in marketing terms, it's not really a practical problem, because less than 1% of trips taken in cars are over 100km. For that small number you could take the train or rent a petrol-driven car.

                [CM] "I have yet to see anyone really explore all the implications of what battery-powered electric cars would mean for electric consumption and compare that with what can safely be sustained."

                I have. It's a fairly simple calculation. Overall we wouldn't have to build any more power plants - most operate at far under capacity most of the time, and well under at night when most of the recharging would take place (ideally).

                But their total output would have to increase. The average vehicle across the West travels about 14-15,000km annually. So the 160km range would take about 100 recharges (a bit more than just 14,500/160, since you won't drain the battery to zero). The 8kWh 100 times would thus be 800kWh annually.

                The average household in Australia or the US has a bit under two vehicles. So the drain would be 1,600kWh per household. Electricity consumption varies a bit between countries, but in Australia it's about 6,400kWh. So we're looking at a 25% increase in domestic power consumption.

                Looking at it nationally, Australian in 2008 produced some 244 billion kWh of electricity. We had 14.4 million vehicles. If all of them followed the scenario above, we'd be looking at,

                14.4 million x 800kWh = 11.5 billion kWh

                more electricity required. Given that our consumption of electricity already goes up by 2-4% annually - 5-10 billion kWh - this would be quite manageable for the grid as a whole. Not really an issue.

                In Australia it wouldn't help our greenhouse gas emissions at all, because the bulk of our electricity is generated from coal. An average car using petrol and an electric car whose electricity is got from coal generate roughly the same emissions.

                [CM] "What are the power requirements for private electric automobiles to carry a given proportion of the population compared to those of a fleet of electrically powered public transit vehicles to carry the same proportion?"

                Obviously the mass tranist requires much less energy. You can see this just from the typical ridership and weights of different vehicles in Australia,

                Car, 1.5 people / 1 tonne = 1.5/t
                Bus/tram, 25 people / 7.5t = 3.3/t
                Train, 125 people / 30t = 4.2/t

                Let alone the rates of a popular and well-run public transport system, which have about twice as many people as the figures above.

                In terms of energy use, the other issue is that if you want your energy source to be renewable, to make cars all run on it you need to change the power station and the cars; to make trains and trams run on it you only need to change the power station, since they're already electric. There are also far fewer trains/trams than cars, again because of how many people each typically carries. So it's cheaper and quicker to change trains/trams than cars.

                But as has been emphasised on this list and in the newsletters so often, whatever cars are powered with, cities with few or no cars are just more pleasant and safe to live in.

                Cheers,
                Kyle
                http://greenwithagun.blogspot.com/
              • Matt Hohmeister
                No surprise here, and this is something I ve noticed. In the USA, every time a new LEED-certified green building is built on the outer edge of the city
                Message 7 of 7 , Apr 3, 2009
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                  No surprise here, and this is something I've noticed. In the USA, every time a new LEED-certified "green" building is built on the outer edge of the city limits, the mayor/city commission go into spasms at some ribbon-cutting ceremony to introduce the city's "commitment" to the environment. The owner of the building typically gets a wad of taxpayer money and free publicity on page 1A of the local newspaper.

                  Of course, the mayor and city commission conveniently forgot to mention that the building was located where it is because no other land is available--thanks to the fact that it's probably illegal to subdivide large, low-density lots. Also, since the building owner was required by law to provide more parking spaces than they'll ever actually need, it was forced to a large, remote lot, since nobody wants to pay for the parking garage that would be required elsewhere.

                  > "This was a huge surprise," says Environmental Building News (EBN)
                  > executive editor Alex Wilson, author of the article. "I knew that
                  > transportation energy requirements were significant, but I was amazed
                  > at the differences." For the article, Wilson collected average U.S.
                  > data for commute distance, vehicle fuel economy, the split among
                  > different commuting options, and the number of square feet of building
                  > per office worker to normalize transportation energy intensity in Btu/
                  > square foot per year. He was then able to compare that transportation
                  > energy intensity to the average building energy use (also in Btu/ft2-
                  > yr) for average existing office buildings and energy code-compliant
                  > buildings (see table below).
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