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Energy in transport applications is produced in two stages. First, it comes from a source and goes into a "tank"; this first stage is often called well-to-tank. Next, it goes from a storage tank to a vehicle's wheels or tank-to-wheels.

So far, this thread has focused on the tank-to-wheels portion of the BEV story, but new research suggests a huge amount of variability in the costs of the well-to-tank portion.

In countries where energy in the well-to-tank portion comes from coal fired plants, like Germany and China, BEV vehicles are more destructive to the environment than ICE vehicles. (It costs more to get energy out of the ground and into usable form in BEV applicaitons.) In countries where energy comes from nuclear and hydroelectric sources, like France and Norway, on the other hand, BEV powered vehicles are less destructive to the environment than ICE vehicles in the well-to-tank stage of battery production.

https://www.autoweek.com/news/green...diesel-cars-still-produce-less-pollution-evs/

According the US Energy Information Agency, in 2019, about 62.7% of the energy generated in the US came from fossil fuels; 19.7% from nuclear; and, 17.5% from renewables. Separately, less than 1% of the total comes from small scale (residential), solar photovoltaic systems.

My takeaway is we can likely feel good about Rivian's tank-to-wheel efficiency, as detailed in #21, but there's still a big problem in well-to-tank efficiency. Battery chemistries, mining, production and refining processes, raw and processed materials transportation and storage are the main variables in the well-to-tank stage and while Rivian can choose its battery partners with an eye on these factors, they vary by country more than by company. Nonetheless, within the same country, some companies will be more energy efficient than others and manage their operations with a greater emphasis on sustainability. At least that's my take.
 

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Energy in transport applications is produced in two stages. First, it comes from a source and goes into a "tank"; this first stage is often called well-to-tank. Next, it goes from a storage tank to a vehicle's wheels or tank-to-wheels.

So far, this thread has focused on the tank-to-wheels portion of the BEV story, but new research suggests a huge amount of variability in the costs of the well-to-tank portion.

In countries where energy in the well-to-tank portion comes from coal fired plants, like Germany and China, BEV vehicles are more destructive to the environment than ICE vehicles. (It costs more to get energy out of the ground and into usable form in BEV applicaitons.) In countries where energy comes from nuclear and hydroelectric sources, like France and Norway, on the other hand, BEV powered vehicles are less destructive to the environment than ICE vehicles in the well-to-tank stage of battery production.

https://www.autoweek.com/news/green...diesel-cars-still-produce-less-pollution-evs/

According the US Energy Information Agency, in 2019, about 62.7% of the energy generated in the US came from fossil fuels; 19.7% from nuclear; and, 17.5% from renewables. Separately, less than 1% of the total comes from small scale (residential), solar photovoltaic systems.

My takeaway is we can likely feel good about Rivian's tank-to-wheel efficiency, as detailed in #21, but there's still a big problem in well-to-tank efficiency. Battery chemistries, mining, production and refining processes, raw and processed materials transportation and storage are the main variables in the well-to-tank stage and while Rivian can choose its battery partners with an eye on these factors, they vary by country more than by company. Nonetheless, within the same country, some companies will be more energy efficient than others and manage their operations with a greater emphasis on sustainability. At least that's my take.
That tired old study refuses to die.
It has been debunked numerous times, mostly because -amazingly enough - for the diesel emissions they ignored the well-to-tank portion and only considered tailpipe emissions.

The data for this graph was garnered from actual power plant emissions data:

ucsusa_30220343.png

The mpg (miles per gallon) value listed for each region is the combined city/highway fuel economy rating of a gasoline vehicle that would have global warming emissions equivalent to driving an EV. Regional global warming emissions ratings are based on 2018 power plant data in the EPA’s eGRID2018 database (released January 2020). Comparison includes gasoline and electricity fuel production emissions estimates for processes like extraction, transportation, and refining using Argonne National Laboratory’s GREET 2019 model. The 88 mpg US average is a sales-weighted average based on where EVs were sold in 2011 through September 2019.

https://blog.ucsusa.org/dave-reichm...s-really-better-for-the-climate-yes-heres-why
 
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Post 31 isn't about comparing the costs of diesel energy to the costs of battery energy. It's about the costs of getting the energy embodied in batteries from well-to-tank and tank-to-wheels. In other words, how much does it cost to get battery energy to vehicles. Those costs vary widely depending on energy sources used in mining, processing, producing and delivering the materials used in lithium ion batteries from well-to-tank.

In places that depend on coal fired electricity, like Germany and China, well-to-tank costs are high. In places that depend on nuclear or hydroelectric power, like France and Norway, well-to-tank costs are much lower. In the States, depending on where you live, costs vary considerably though, as a whole, the US depends heavily on fossil fuels for generating the energy for mining, processing, producing and delivering battery energy, well-to-tank, to BEV vehicles.
 

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"In countries where energy in the well-to-tank portion comes from coal fired plants, like Germany and China, BEV vehicles are more destructive to the environment than ICE vehicles. (It costs more to get energy out of the ground and into usable form in BEV applicaitons.) "

This statement needs some facts to back it up. The link you included is to an article that refers to another article, that refers to yet another article about an outdated study with significant flaws. I'm open to seeing info that shows diesel is less environmentally destructive than a BEV in Germany or anywhere else. Comparing only the tailpipe emissions of a diesel powered "A class" vehicle (ignoring the well to tank portion) against the emissions produced in producing the electricity to power a Tesla Model S allowed them to conclude that "Diesel is Cleaner".

Yes the environmental costs of electricity vary, but they are getting cleaner all the time while the production of fossil fuels is heading the other direction (fracking, etc). Just like electricity, there is also a big difference in the environmental costs to produce fossil fuels depending on the quality and source of the crude (tar sands, i.e.).

And yes, the energy mix in the US contains a lot of fossil fuels, but it is mostly natural gas which is much cleaner. Actual emission data from all US power plants is available (https://www.epa.gov/energy/emissions-generation-resource-integrated-database-egrid) and is what was used to calculate the well to wheels costs of electricity vs an ICE vehicle in the graph and article I linked to.

The graph I linked shows that in the worst grid region (heavy on coal) operating an average EV produces the same carbon footprint as a 39 mpg gas vehicle. In best region the ICE would have to obtain 231 mpg.
 

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Why is upstate NY so good? Because they buy their electricity from Quebec Hydro.
 

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Is it worse to own an electric car that puts more demand on an environmentally unfriendly grid, or to drive a car that also does its own damage even if cumulatively, it's less harmful to do so from a by-the-numbers comparison? If universal EV adoption happens a lot faster because new-ev-world EVs are cool (at the expense of drawing a lot more power), can we still ultimately meet that larger demand with sustainable energy and have a platform for transportation that people will continue to take seriously, as compared to if we all kumbaya'd and became rather bored driving Volts and/or Priuses and ultimately kept filling up at the gas station? The question was not 100% rhetorical. I'm not sure. I just hope we can.

I am sometimes disturbed by my own cult-ish-ish-devotion to this company and what it's pulled off, but I think, maybe empirically, on this point, Scaringe has a winner. Rather than limit ourselves based on where all-electric was yesterday, why not just embrace it; create a cultural paradigm where for the price of spending a little more time on road trips refueling, it feels cheap being able to outperform the [email protected]#$ out of any other ICE vehicle on the road, where driving around with a massive mobile battery is like the coolest freaking thing you could ever have and not a liability? But is it more benefit than cost? Seems likely but it's a lot of details.
 
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Is it worse to own an electric car that puts more demand on an environmentally unfriendly grid, or to drive a car that also does its own damage even if cumulatively, it's less harmful to do so from a by-the-numbers comparison? If universal EV adoption happens a lot faster because new-ev-world EVs are cool (at the expense of drawing a lot more power), can we still ultimately meet that larger demand with sustainable energy and have a platform for transportation that people will continue to take seriously, as compared to if we all kumbaya'd and became rather bored driving Volts and/or Priuses and ultimately kept filling up at the gas station? The question was not 100% rhetorical. I'm not sure. I just hope we can.
EVs don't tax the grid the way many think they do. Most charging is done at home, and it is really easy to schedule that during low demand periods. Electricity generation isn't something that can be turned on and off like a light bulb, and power output generation must be sized to meet peak demand. This often results in periods where supply exceeds demand and charging EVs in this period actually helps the grid without having to increase production capacities. A bit counter intuitive, but intelligent charging systems that integrate with the grid can actually better utilize existing resources.
 

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Is it worse to own an electric car that puts more demand on an environmentally unfriendly grid, or to drive a car that also does its own damage even if cumulatively, it's less harmful to do so from a by-the-numbers comparison?
Clearly it would be better to take the less harmful path which, as the graphic in #32 clearly shows, is the electric one. In other words, the grid is actually environmentally friendly relative to the alternative when used as source energy for transportation. Clearly it could be even more friendly but it is equally clear that it is moving in that direction as coal plants continue to be shut down to be replaced by natural gas and wind and sun generation are increasingly added. The fly in the ointment is that nuclear plants are also being shut down.

If universal EV adoption happens a lot faster because new-ev-world EVs are cool (at the expense of drawing a lot more power), can we still ultimately meet that larger demand with sustainable energy
Easily. FUD about EVs collapsing the grid has been silenced for some time now. A factor to consider, though I'm not sure how big it is nor how big it will be once the nerd/geek (early adoption) market has been saturated, is that lot's of EV buyers get caught up in this electric thing and install solar panels or windmills thus appreciably reducing their contribution to grid load.

...and have a platform for transportation that people will continue to take seriously, as compared to if we all kumbaya'd and became rather bored driving Volts and/or Priuses and ultimately kept filling up at the gas station?
BEVs are already being taken seriously and are here to stay. Their penetration of the market will continue to grow at a relatively slow rate (easily absorbed by the utilities) until the day when Joe Public goes to buy a new car and is shown two roughly equivalent vehicles with the elecrtic version priced lower than the ICE version. At that point things will get interesting as sales will accelerate which will lower the price of petrol and the savings in fuel costs that many of us are enjoying today will go away so that total cost of ownership may remain lower for the ICE vehicles than the BEVs. Note that even before the recent dramatic drop in gas prices it was cheaper to drive my Lexus on a long trip than it would hav been to take an R1T.


I am sometimes disturbed by my own cult-ish-ish-devotion to this company and what it's pulled off, but I think, maybe empirically, on this point, Scaringe has a winner.
We have tons of data on Telsa, obviously a winner, from which we can draw empirical conclusions but little to none on Rivian at this point. It certainly appears from what Rivian has revealed and people have observed that the Rivian products will be equivalent or near equivalent to Tesla at least in the vehicle segment. It remains to be seen how they stack up in the support and fueling segments with the latter being the elephant in the room as Tesla has the SC network and Rivian doesn't. Practically speaking as most charging is done at home that shouldn't be a big detriment but as Rivian's marketing is based on this "Adventure" model it may trouble some that out there having an adventure you will pay more for energy than you would with an ICE vehicle.


But is it more benefit than cost? Seems likely but it's a lot of details.
The relative costs are for electricity and fueling time. These apply only when you are on the road (unless you have to use public charging at home (condo, apartment). Everything else seems like beer and skittles to me but it is a determination you will have to make for yourself. I always look to see whether the questioner owns a BEV. If he does not, and you don't appear to, I usually point out that many of the advantages only become clear after you have operated a BEV for a while.
 
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AJ and others. I'm surprised by a hypothetical that posits costs being equal between BEVs and ICEs, many might choose ICEs. I want to explore this a bit, and I'm breaking costs into various categories: purchase, operations, fueling and opportunity (convenience) costs.

If purchase costs are the same, there may be different ownership, sales and licensing costs and tax credits to consider. At present, some states reward BEV ownership and some don't. (The same is true at the federal level: at some times, BEV ownership is rewarded; at others, not.)

Operational costs are interesting because there's so much more to go wrong with an ICE vehicle than a BEV. But I'm like Pherdnut in this regard. I don't have a BEV. I have a hybrid - I've actually had two - and while it's been remarkably trouble free (it's a Toyota), it does require servicing that BEVs do not. Aside from reliability and durability, there's longevity to consider. Again, my first Prius went 300K miles before it required anything other than routine maintenance. How long will a BEV go before it requires anything more than routine maintenance? Maybe there's not enough data to say. Nonetheless, all in all, I would think operational costs should be lower for BEVs than ICEs.

Fueling costs are interesting. They're probably closest to what this thread originally started as. Battery chemistry, packaging and management will drive fueling costs - how often one will refuel and at what costs. There's so much R&D going on in this area, it's hard to predict where we'll be in 3, 5 and 10 years down the road, except to say that future batteries will be a lot better than current ones and fueling costs, all else being equal, will be much lower. But it's the "all else being equal" which is hard to parse.

Nonetheless, a majority of BEV fueling is done at home. BEV vs ICE fueling cost differences depend on electricity costs and load factors. But even assuming fueling costs are the same, when environmental, #32, purchase and operational costs are factored in, they're not equal.

Finally, opportunity cost issues hinge heavily on how much service, repair and fueling time is required. On long distance or remote area trips where ease of battery refueling is problematic, ICEs easily win but in all other areas of activity, I'm guessing BEVs win.

In sum, and with a great deal of modesty because I'm no expert in any areas we're discussing, BEVs seem to trump ICEs in almost every category of comparison, assuming that purchase prices are the same.
 

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Fueling costs are interesting. They're probably closest to what this thread originally started as. Battery chemistry, packaging and management will drive fueling costs - how often one will refuel and at what costs.
Battery chemistry has very little impact on fueling costs.
The only impact is that improved batteries that weigh less can make BEVs slightly more efficient (unless more batteries are fitted to get more range).
 
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Here's more information on the battery supply side of EVs, the well to wheels part of the equation.

Not surprisingly, costs vary tremendously with where essential metals are mined, battery chemistry and how important specific essential metals, like cobalt and lithium, are to battery chemistry, and where batteries are produced or, more accurately, what sources of energy are used in battery production and packaging processes in particular places. All of these issues become greatly exaggerated as demand ramps up, as it will in the near future.

For Rivian, all these issues affect the choice of battery suppliers. Undoubtedly Rivian has already made its initial choice of a battery supplier, most likely either LG Chem or Samsung SDI, but as this thread as emphasized, EV batteries are changing rapidly as underlying battery chemistries, production and packaging technologies, and battery management systems advance. Fortunately, Rivian has some clout with battery suppliers as the company has received a lot of positive press and it has strong partnerships with well known companies, like Amazon, Ford and Cox. Unfortunately, it's a startup and production has been delayed. It hard to say where the balance lies between those forces though I feel Rivian is in a good position to have a notable impact on BEV acceptance and growing market share in the U.S.

But it's undeniable that Rivian's partner choices will be strategically important. Battery supplier may be the most important choice of all.

https://electrek.co/2020/04/16/the-challenge-of-sustainably-producing-millions-of-ev-batteries/
 
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SK Innovation, one of three S. Korean battery producers, including LG Chem, SDI and SK Innovation, is opening two very large battery plants in Georgia. Good for the USA and likely good for Rivian, even if SK Innovation is not Rivian's initial battery supplier. (It's unclear which battery company will initially supply Rivian although media rumors suggest it might be SDI, affiliated with the Samsung group of firms.)

As mentioned often in this thread, having alternative sources of supply for a key component, like batteries, is strategically important for Rivian. And it's good for competition too. S. Korean companies certainly seem to be giving Chinese battery firms a run for their money in terms of which firms will realize global economies of scale.

https://electrek.co/2020/04/28/sk-i...lants-as-center-of-world-ev-battery-industry/
 
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