How Green is my Tesla

This blog post a few days ago over at Power Line reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend about Teslas and ‘range anxiety.’  He was very defensive and noted that if a person had a problem driving a Tesla from LA to Las Vegas  (Beyond the range of a one charge Tesla) they were simply poor planners.  The amazing thing is that my friend doesn’t even own a Tesla. One of the points in the blog post is that Tesla owners are very proud of their cars and make sure you know they own one. They are most proud because of the lack of environmental impact of their car. Fair enough.

However the blog post I linked above goes to great length to compare the amount of energy used to power a Tesla Model S and a BMW 7 series. (Approximately same size and cost.) There is a lot of math and formulas in the post, but to summarize, the BMW7 actually uses less energy and is therefore less polluting than the Tesla. Not by a lot, but certainly beyond the margin of error.

I had always thought that what electric cars do is simply move the pollution from the tailpipe to a power plant. Energy is energy. To convert it to something we can use, like power to drive wheels, takes more energy. If you don’t believe me, read the blog here.

I think this is too good to check, however I have sent the article to a friend who is an engineer and eats stuff like this for breakfast. If he finds a problem with it I’ll let you know. In the mean time, sit just a little straighter in your Belchfire V12. You may not be killing as many whales as you think.


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