Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Your Tax Dollars at Work

The Chevy Volt electric car depends on an abundance of Federal and state subsidies--one of the perils of government ownership of GM Now, the automaker plans to spend additional tax dollars selling the subsidy:
Chevrolet will use this month's World Series to launch ads for the debut of the Volt plug-in hybrid sedan, General Motors Co.'s marketing chief Joel Ewanick said.

The ads will be part of a broad campaign that Chevrolet will initiate during Major League Baseball's fall classic and run throughout autumn, said Ewanick, who spoke on the sidelines Thursday of the Rainbow PUSH auto summit in Detroit. . .

News Corp.'s Fox is carrying the World Series on television. Ewanick . . . said he expected Chevrolet to be one of the largest advertisers during the games. GM also plans to resume advertising during the 2011 Super Bowl.
Each 30 second World Series TV spot will cost between $250-285,000. So, as Henry Payne says, "Government Motors will use taxpayer money to buy premium ad time to pitch a money-losing, taxpayer-subsidized, Washington-approved, green automobile to America’s upper-class green snobs." And that's assuming (dubiously) electric cars really are "green." The next stop for subsidies, btw, is China. All of which is why we need to get the government out of "Government Motors."

Can someone explain how Obama's economic policies benefit average Americans?


OBloodyHell said...

> Can someone explain how Obama's economic policies benefit average Americans?

Keeps 'em from spending all that excess money they used to have on potato chips, ice cream, and video games, improving general health.

Didn't you get the memo from Michelle?

OBloodyHell said...

From the Der Speigel article on e-fficiency:

> The event is titled: "What needs to be done to finally achieve a breakthrough for the electric car?"

Ummmm, developing an understanding of Magic and its principles for operation?

The only thing that can do this would be the development of a remarkably more efficient energy storage technology, not based on any heretofore known techniques.

That will require a stroke of genius -- in the Einstein or Newton mold -- not the wave of a politician's pen or the flash of a businessman's wad of cash.

OBloodyHell said...

Also from Der Speigel:

> Although the electric car has no emissions, the electricity to charge the batteries has to be generated somehow: through solar, wind or hydroelectric power, through nuclear power or in coal power plants. An electric car can be more or less environmentally friendly, depending on what makes up a country's energy mix.


1) Transmission line losses. not less than 5% of all energy used. The current system is already close to peak loads. THAT will have to be massively built up, and done under a highly litigious not-in-my-backyard legal arena.

2) Storage conversion-deconversion losses -- on the order of 50-60% -- that is, for every 10kW generated, only 4kw actually gets put into moving the car -- AFTER it gets to the car.

3) Disposal of batteries when disposing of the car -- and/or after replacing them when they wear out (current batteries may be good for about 8-10 years. *MY* car is still working reliably despite being built in 1990. Yours?)... and does replacing the batteries make it easier to just write off the entire car? It's akin to an expense like replacing the entire engine and transmission.... usually a "scrap it" situation. We'll find out in about 6-10 years from now, won't we, when the first mass run of the aging hybrids starts to need widespread replacements.

4) No additional nuke plants, no additional coal plants -- thanks to Obama -- where's this new and highly demanded electric power driving this massive fleet of EVs supposed to come from, then? Are you going to be happy when your home electric prices double? Will recharging your EV become far, far more expensive than refilling its tank with gasoline?

THIS IS ALL YET ANOTHER SCAM, just like the hybrids -- and worse.

It can be demonstrated that, on a financial basis alone, the hybrid car requires gasoline to be at $7 a gallon in order over the entire typical 5 year ownership span for a vehicle to justify the purchase premium demanded by a hybrid over the previous best-of-economy Honda VTec Civics. You might notice we don't have that kind of gas price per gallon atm...


LOL -- word verif is (no sh**!) "conme"

Assistant Village Idiot said...

This building and selling of the Volt seems rather circular. I think most of us could make a company work if the government told us to make and gave us money, then we used the money to lobby the government to give us more money.

OTOH, the gummint lost money running a brothel in Nevada it had acquired temporarily in an IRS case.

On the plus side, I'm sure it was an appropriately green, multicultural, non-smoking brothel by they time they finished with it.

O Bloody Hell said...

> On the plus side, I'm sure it was an appropriately green, multicultural, non-smoking brothel by they time they finished with it.

Probably lost money because they were required to hire equal numbers of male prostitutes to work there...

Carl said...

OBH: from the October 7th Economist:

"And what of electric cars’ environmental credentials? Electric cars are being hugely subsidised by taxpayers—£5,000 ($7,940) in Britain and up to $7,500 in America—on the ground that they are zero-emission vehicles. Makers of electric cars claim that this is an efficient way to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Road transport accounts for a tenth of such emissions worldwide; the sorts of biofuels currently in use are not much greener than petrol; and next-generation biofuels are proving slow to come to the market.

Although electric cars may not themselves produce greenhouse gases, generating the electricity they use does. How green they are depends on the fuel mix at the power plants in the country in which they are driven. An electric car in Britain today, for instance, produces around 20% less in CO2 emissions than a car with a petrol engine. Even if the generating mix gets greener, electric vehicles are so expensive to produce, that they will still be a relatively costly way of abating CO2 emissions. Sceptics therefore doubt that the subsidy is a good use of public money. According to Richard Pike, chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, replacing all of Britain’s cars with subsidised electric cars would cost the taxpayer £150 billion and, with Britain’s current fuel mix, cut CO2 emissions from cars by about 2%."

OBloodyHell said...

> An electric car in Britain today, for instance, produces around 20% less in CO2 emissions than a car with a petrol engine.

Beware of technical tricks.

The only -- repeat: only -- way to examine this whole process (and that's IF we ack that the carbon footprint is relevant to jack or that other stuff -- a very BIG "if")) is to utilize some variety of full-life-cycle accounting.

That is, examine a "classic" car's entire life -- from the energy use mining its ores, refining the metals, obtaining and manufacturing its plastics, glasses, "rubbers" and so forth, through to its full "daily" operations -- driving, parking, repairing, and so forth -- through its final disposal into landfill and recycling bins. Then do exactly the same with the electric car, or the hybrid, or the car.

What difference does it make if the car produces 20% less carbon during the entire cycle of usage, if it produces 10x that sum total amount during the creation and destruction parts of the cycle?

This is the main problem with solar cells as an "energy source" -- they may well produce a lot of "free" energy during their lifespan, and the same energy is quite "clean", also.

The problem is that the creation is a high-energy process, one which many qualified individuals suggest is actually a net-energy negative when added in to the requirements for proper recycling and disposal at their end-of-life.

Further, the creation process for solar cells is akin to producing computer chips, which is an exceptionally dirty process, and a lot of energy must be used to destroy the toxic byproducts produced as a matter of creation... and, inevitably, some of them "escape" or are improperly handled and thus released into the environment.

So, as you can see, with the proper view, solar cells are neither "clean" nor "free" energy producers.

Likewise, questions abound with regards to both electric and hybrid vehicles --

Will they last as long as conventional vehicles? How much does this affect the "inherent societal amortization" of the production costs, if you get my meaning?

What about the creation and disposal of the batteries they utilize? How much energy (value) will it cost to create and properly destroy them?

Suppose the current level of energy production creates 'x' tons of carbon per vehicle created, but the existing infrastructure, when utilized to create all the extra transport electricity used, spurs the creation of newer "cheaper" energy systems (i.e., "coal plants") -- meaning that society will be producing more carbon as a result, even though that newer, added carbon is not specifically and clearly tied to the vehicle and its usage...?

Similar questions about electrics and hybrids abound.

There's a reason they cost more, and it's not just, or only, the surface-level production factors.