What’s keeping you from having an electric vehicle (EV)?

We know that transportation accounts for 25-35% of the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The growing consensus is that electrification of vehicles can significantly lower those emissions. 

Knowing that, what’s kept you from buying an EV?  Please tell us in a couple of words or sentences with a Comment under this Post about the one main thing that’s stopping you.  [If you have an EV, tell us what moved you forward!]

In a later Post we’ll have a closer look at the recent Bloomberg New Energy Finance findings - recently reported in their EV Outlook 2017.  The authors significantly accelerated prior predictions to conclude that 54% of new vehicles sold and 33% of the fleet will be EV’s by 2040.  Hmmm – wonder why?? 

See also: Drawdown, pp.142-143.


Dave Damm-Luhr's picture

For those following the

For those following the current US tax proposals you probably noticed that if the House bill were to become law, the $7500 tax credit for EV's would disappear - thus giving Americans less

incentive to switch to EV's.  

Meanwhile, at today's opening of the Guangzhou auto show, global automakers seem to be betting on China. From the New York Times: there is "a growing consensus among auto executives — even in the United States, where General Motors and Ford are planning to build more electric vehicles — that China will lead the world in the fast-growing sector."  VW and Nissan are likewise putting their marbles on the Chinese EV field.

What are the incentives or barrier in your country to more EV production or purchase?

[I'd particularly like to hear from folks in Norway, where the national government is pulling out all the stops to support EV's.]


Curt Newton's picture

Regarding the value of

Regarding the value of transitioning to EVs, see David Roberts' recent unpacking of California

's emissions situation, highlighting the outsized role that transportation plays in meeting targets over the next couple decades.  This graph drives it home.


Transportation is currently the single biggest source of California carbon emissions, more than twice as big as the electricity sector. And passenger vehicles are responsible for roughly 2/3 of transportation emissions.

Of course all those new EVs need to be powered by clean energy, and using storage technologies that are themselves environmentally responsible and ethically produced.

"We don't do it because it is easy. We do it because it is hard."

Rick Shankman's picture

Curt, I suggest that your

Curt, I suggest that your assessment (based on the CARB Chart) is inaccurate.

As a first matter, if you combine the Industrial and Electric Power categories you exceed the Transportation number.

As a second matter, all the currently existing "vehicles" in that Transportation number (heavy-duty trucks, passenger vehicles, ships & commercial boats, aviation, off-road, rail, and "other") aren't going to magically convert to electric power.  Further, as shown in the earlier "Tesla calculation", it would take ridiculously enormous amounts of money to even make the smallest recognizable dent in the emissions problem; while further destroying the Earth to find enough rare metals and lithium to build all the batteries for them.

It has been repeatedly shown that the greatest return on effort is in the stopping of more fossil fuel exploration and the curbing of fossil fuel use in electricity generation.

After going and reading the David Roberts piece - because the whole premise didn't make sense to me - I found out why... California has already initiated the decarbonization of the electric utility industry in the state.  You failed to mention that this was their first measure.  Both Roberts and CARB recognize the difficulties inherent in now attempting to decarbonize the transportation sector as well...

"To put it as simply as possible: California’s experience shows that decarbonizing the electricity sector is both possible and profitable, but to reach its ambitious carbon targets, the state will now have to decarbonize transportation — which brings a whole new and daunting set of difficulties."

Lastly... JFK never would have allowed Big Oil or the CIA to have gotten the stranglehold on the American people that they enjoy today.

Rick Shankman's picture

Yet another additional fun

Yet another additional fun fact...

In 2016, Tesla sold a total of 76,230 cars worldwide.  As stated earlier, it would take roughly 32,783 Teslas to offset the annual CO₂ emissions from the MIT CUP power plant on campus.  So, all the Teslas sold in 2016 would merely offset 2.3 years of MIT CUP CO₂ emissions.

Climate action distraction at its best.

As Tesla is the 4th largest automobile manufacturer in the world by market capitalization ($58.7 Billion), I hope this simple calculation clearly illustrates the futility and stupidity of distractive focus on personal greening behaviors.

Rick Shankman's picture

I know this will come as a

I know this will come as a shock to many, but consider this conspiratorial thought (truth) for a minute...

What if your favorite electronic devices, although very expensive in your opinion, were artificially cheaper than they should be?  What if their widespread popularity was fueled by exploitation and theft of resources?  What if this was "necessary" to keep the prices "down" so their could be sufficient profit margin for the manufacturers, despite what should be high material (lithium) costs?

Enter the realm of climate action distraction!

What if this tech device company greed problem (enabling surveillance state expansion) could be easily solved by massively increasing the demand and supply of lithium by tying it to another "innocent" industry (personal greening behavior)?  Enter the manufactured EV craze.  With lithium (volume) demand massively increased, the tech companies will benefit from economies of scale in new and expanded lithium mining and production.  More profit margin!

Simple solutions to difficult problems... just dupe the public with the advertising hype machine.

Climate action distraction is more costly than you would think.

The reality of lithium demand... https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/business/batteries/tossed-aside-in-the-lithium-rush/

Dan Renner's picture

In the summary of their study

In the summary of their study titled "Comparative Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Conventional and Electric Vehicles" Mr.s Troy R.

Hawkins, Bhawna Singh, Guillaume Majeau-Bettez, and Anders Hammer Strømman state the following: "We find that EVs powered by the present European electricity mix offer a 10% to 24% decrease in global warming potential (GWP) relative to conventional diesel or gasoline vehicles assuming lifetimes of 150,000 km. However, EVs exhibit the potential for significant increases in human toxicity, freshwater eco-toxicity, freshwater eutrophication, and metal depletion impacts, largely emanating from the vehicle supply chain."

Then take into account EVs running in America, India, Europe or China where the largest GHG pollutant is generation of electricity as noted by the EPA (for America on the site) and the numbers are much worse.

Add to this, the EPA report, titled “Application of Life-Cycle Assessment to Nanoscale Technology: Lithium-ion Batteries for Electric Vehicles” mentions that a full life-cycle analysis of lithium-ion batteries brings about “resource depletion, global warming, ecological toxicity and human health impacts.”

And as Bjorn Lomborg reported in his article "Green Cars Have a Dirty Little Secret" in the Wall Street Journal, "A 2012 comprehensive life-cycle analysis in Journal of Industrial Ecology shows that almost half the lifetime carbon-dioxide emissions from an electric car come from the energy used to produce the car..."

Add to this the recent study which proved that PM2.5 particle emissions from EVs still occurs -- from the tires and this is because of the heavier weight of the EVs.

So how is it that EVs are looked at as a 'green' transportation choice?

Rick Shankman's picture

Just an additional fun fact..

Just an additional fun fact...

Sarah would have to convince 32,782 of her friends to join her in buying Teslas, at a total cost of over $3.32 Billion (just buying the base models), to offset MIT CUP's annual emissions.

As said, this is climate action distraction.

Rick Shankman's picture

Sarah, I know you are itching

Sarah, I know you are itching for that new Tesla EV, but consider this (from my earlier point below)...

MIT CUP put out (in 2010) 154,082 metric tons of CO₂ annually.  The EPA says the average automobile emits 4.7 metric tons of CO₂ per year.  So, you will personally solve 0.00% (actually, 0.003%) of the annual CO₂ problem caused by MIT CUP with your expensive new purchase.

Is the relative scale of the problem and importance of choosing the right topics on ClimateX becoming clearer?

Sarah Robinson's picture

1) impatiently waiting for

1) impatiently waiting for lease on current vehicle to end. 

2) husband is less impulsive, not as "driven" as I am to make the switch ASAP. 

3) car is a joint decision. 

4) my top choice (Tesla) is not the same as his (uncertain). 

Rick Shankman's picture

Dave, now take a minute to

Dave, now take a minute to consider the climate action diversionary nature of this posting.

 MIT News just published an announcement that construction on the new CUP fossil fuel-burning power plant is to begin this month!  The punchline (as Aryt already mentioned)?...

The plant will reduce carbon emissions by only 10% (in 2020), but by then, MIT will be producing 10% more emissions!

How many EVs will it take to even put a statistically recognizable dent in that math?


A few things. Range is a

A few things.

Range is a primary concern of mine, as I drive a lot (at least that's been the case recently) and it would be a pain to have to charge my vehicle often (unless I could charge in <30 minutes).  I also don't really have anywhere that I could charge an EV in my apartment community.  Moreover, if I travel from Baltimore to DC or Northern Virginia and back, that's roughly 80-100 miles round trip.  Hence, I'd have to find a place to charge when I get to my destination. Or if I take a trip to a place such as Shenandoah NP, I'd have to find somewhere to charge, not only on the way, but when I get there (not so easy in a remote area, I'd imagine).  I think EVs such as the Nissan Leaf, even though they have good range, only make sense for city dwellers who don't drive that much.  I hope somebody with more knowledge proves me wrong. 

Curt Newton's picture

I share Rick's concerns about

I share Rick's concerns about the 1000-fold growth of heretofore toxics-laden and human rights-challenged mining practices. Not that those concerns couldn't and shouldn't be addressed.

But a bigger reason is, we simply don't drive many miles, and our gas-powered car has many many years of useful life in it.  In the grand scheme of where to invest next to cut our household footprint, car isn't high. Instead we're gearing up for a major rehab of our home heating system.

Rick Shankman's picture

"[W]hat's kept you from

"[W]hat's kept you from buying an EV?  Please tell us in a couple of words...."

Common sense.

Those huge batteries don't come from the Lithium Fairy.