Electric cars are one good answer

The Wednesday letter “Electric vehicles aren’t the answer” contained several false statements that I would like to refute. The writer stated “It will be more costly than gasoline on a cents per mile basis.” The Tesla Roadster and Chevrolet Volt use roughly 11 kilowatt hours (about $1 to $1.75 depending on where you live) for a 40-mile trip. Most gasoline-powered vehicles couldn’t go half that distance for the same cost.

The writer also claims that “Electricity loses most of its potential energy on the transmission lines before it reaches the point of use.” This is false, as a typical electric utility system delivers over 90 percent of the generated electric power to customer load.

Although the writer is correct that most electricity nationwide is generated by coal or gas-fired generators, the electric power production is still far less polluting than the equivalent tailpipe emission of an internal combustion engine. Also, electric power plants are sited farther away from populated areas, so their emissions are less harmful. All forms of thermal power conversion are inherently inefficient. A combined cycle electric power plant is roughly 50 percent efficient at converting the fuel’s chemical energy to electricity. However, a typical internal combustion engine is less than 20 percent efficient at converting the chemical energy to mechanical power.

The writer claims that electric cars are not green, not efficient and not inexpensive. The electric cars are green and they are efficient. They will continue to be expensive until battery technology improves enough to bring costs down and increases the driving range.

Steve Larson
Lake Stevens

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