While I am not a fan of General Motors and their horrible past scandals with the electric car or their current federal financial bailout, I am surprised by the falsehoods that writers use to describe the Chevy Volt. The Aug. 10 column by Jonah Goldberg, a conservative commentator, has the facts just plain wrong.

Goldberg does not seem to understand some basic energy principles. Even with the source of electricity coming from the most polluting methods of production, in this case, coal, electric vehicles will produce significantly less CO2 and other toxic pollutants into the atmosphere than produced by gasoline engines.

This is because the efficiencies of electric motors are far greater than their gasoline counterparts. Gas engines produce lots of heat (thus are about 25 percent efficient), while electric motors produce little heat and thus can be up to 95 percent efficient.

So if we count the emissions from burning coal to make electricity for a car that goes 10 miles, and you count the emissions from gasoline-powered car going the same distance, you pollute far less with the electric car overall. It would be better yet for us to start to increase the energy we derive from green methods such as wind and solar. Then it would really be a win-win situation.

Contrary to Mr. Goldberg’s opinion, we have made a privately funded successful electric vehicle (the Tesla Roadster).

Overall, we would be better off promoting electrified rail transportation and other mass transit over electrified autos, but please give electric autos their due; they pollute less than today’s cars, period.

That’s why I own an all-electric motorcycle, which gets its energy from my solar panels.

 


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