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The Contradictions of Battery Operated Vehicles | Graham Conway | TEDxSanAntonio

  • Published on Jan 30, 2020 veröffentlicht
  • NOTE FROM TED: This talk only reflects the speaker's personal views and interpretation. Several claims in this talk lack scientific support. We've flagged this talk because it falls outside the content guidelines TED gives TEDx organizers. TEDx events are independently organized by volunteers. The guidelines we give TEDx organizers are described in more detail here: storage.ted.com/tedx/manuals/t...
    This talk will challenge the popular perception that Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) are environmentally friendly, and will argue that we are inappropriately rushing the market introduction of these vehicles. BEVs are commonly sold under the guise of being ‘Zero Emissions,’ an assertion that is not true by any definition. Brake pads produce emissions, as do
    tires and even interiors under sunlight. The electricity that powers BEVs is generated by power plants, 64% of which burn fossil fuels in the U.S.-fossil fuels that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. Even more importantly, there are significant CO2 emissions
    created during the manufacture of the battery pack, meaning that in order to offset the carbon created during the production process, a BEV must drive 40,000 - 100,000 miles before being environmentally comparable to a gasoline-powered vehicle. Hybrid vehicles, on the other hand,
    which combine much smaller batteries with efficient internal combustion engines, have been shown to be a much better option for lowering global CO2. Unfortunately, they do not receive the same marketable ‘kudos’ or policy backing as full BEVs. We are headed down the wrong path by
    rolling out BEVs before making the manufacturing and electricity generation CO2 neutral. Dr. Graham Conway is a Principal Engineer in the Automotive Division at Southwest Research Institute. For the last ten years he has been immersed in evaluating automotive technologies and consulting for car companies and suppliers. This gives him unique insights and perspectives on the industry. He is passionate about making vehicles more efficient to ensure the future of the planet and has a message to share about some common misconceptions about electric and non-electric vehicles. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at www.ted.com/tedx

Comments • 20 898

  • Yann Camus BlissClimbing

    Don't forget. It makes more sense from a green perspective to keep your old car running and well-maintained as long as you can. There are significant environmental costs to both manufacturing a new automobile and adding your old car to the ever-growing collective junk heap.

  • Andrew Earle

    This reinforces my belief around the importance of buying less, but when we do buy, buying the most durable/quality products on the market and then taking care of them for maximum life.

  • David Ladd

    I suspect every figure mentioned (got your attention?), but I applaud the presentation. When this audience (us) has assimilated this information, they will be able to at least challenge others. Awareness of the complexity of the equation is a step in the right direction. Battery technology, materials acquisition, and manufacturing efficiency are all in flux, on the steep part of the learning curve. The same can be said for solar cells (an non-PV solar). I would like to see more information on thermal issues, such as comparing incident solar radiation absorbed/reflected off into space, on various bare soils, or crops VS. absorbed/reflected off into space by solar farms. PV solar cells absorb a lot of heat that is not reflected and is not converted into electricity. It might turn out that some crops are so good at absorbing CO2 and solar radiation they they could provide more benefit per acre/hectare, as a PV farm. We won’t know until we know, you know? Keep digging!

  • Carlyn Bedwell

    "Birth to Scrap" is an engineering concept that should also include the CO2 (and $$ cost) impact of the manufacture of solar panels and wind turbines materials & manufacturing). ALL facets of energy production/usage need to have an accounting in order to truly appreciate the electric car global impact

  • J Mc
    J Mc  +19

    Awesome vid ,very thorough and well researched,and factual. Best wishes to you all, from, Auckland, New Zealand.

  • Brian Cunningham

    These has been my thoughts exactly for a while now. Thanks for the data to support them.

  • Jason D
    Jason D  +1

    It takes a lot of energy to produce these vehicles, so hold onto your vehicles longer, your clothes, phones etc longer. However, big companies don’t want this to happen.

  • Liraco
    Liraco  +38

    Love that this had to be "fact checked". Wonder what an updated talk would look like in numbers.

  • corrion1
    corrion1  +152

    If they really cared about the environment they would legislate a minimum of at least 10years durability on all consumer products

  • Chris Holden

    Exactly the analysis I've been wanting.... to help in my search for a new pick-up truck. I've been bicycle only x > 7 years. More doable in Chicago than most would imagine. Annual auto show forays make me salivate, but leave me saying... what will they have next year?

  • Sami Walbury
    Sami Walbury Day ago +1

    Great demonstration of looking for externalities! It’d be great to see an updated version, 2 years later - now that electric cars are about twice as efficient.

  • David Glendinning
    David Glendinning 21 day ago +8

    Certainly an interesting video. The one thing I'd like to add is about incentives. If people move to electric too quickly, yes, there could be the problems as described. However, on the other side, with fewer customers wanting carbon-producing fuels and more wanting non-carbon, the companies that produce that energy have more incentives to find the answers in non-carbon products faster. More incentives to find those answers, more companies putting more money into those products, then if the amount can be found, the next thing that will set them apart would be price, of course, but also how green the real production and use of it actually is. The companies didn't start changing because they wanted to, it was because people wanted a different product.

  • Mister Mister

    In 2004, my company asked me if I wanted to work from home and I said yes. Telecommuters work longer hours, have great quality and goof off less. That is being green. I have saved over 30,000 in fuel.

  • pheanix [au]

    The Environmental Standard, ISO 14001, mentions the concept of "cradle to grave" when it come to a product being environmentally sound; i.e. from mining or synthesizing materials through transport to production to delivery to market and end user through to collection and disposal including the energy and waste product from the production processes.

  • Romanus William

    Wise observation

  • Joezer D
    Joezer D 21 hour ago

    We should all just walk....🤔😂

  • Stephen Poe

    This is interesting ! And something I have believed for years ! Also the elimination of Forrest through out the World adds to Co2 levels ! He didn't mention that.

  • Ad Roest
    Ad Roest 14 days ago

    Thank you for the high quality text and pictures. I agree with you.

  • Eric G
    Eric G  +770

    Please do an expanded version of this talking about the batteries, what it take to produce them, there life span, and what happens to them when they have reached the end of their efficient life span.

  • Jim Vonn
    Jim Vonn  +28

    Hey Jason; big companies used to like to make cars that last a long time; I had a 1971 Porsche 911T with 1 million + miles I gave to my nephew; finally needs a rebuild; I still have a 1961 Volvo P1800 and Opel Gt all are over 50 years old. People ought to want to have solid vehicles that last; and you could still ride share and save real CO2 rather than talk about it.