Gasoline to Hybrid to Electric Vehicles: Lessons in Cost-Effectiveness from Sir Isaac Newton

The consumer-driven rise of the hybrid vehicle -- half gasoline, half electric -- has spurred on more research into the fully electric vehicle, or EV.  EVWorld offers a statistical projection of the cost-efficiency of EVs over the standard internal combustion engine and today's top hybrid vehicles, concluding that no matter which way one slices it, EVs are the way to go if one wants to stretch their energy dollar.  When compared to the average gasoline engine for a small (30 mpg) car, the EV offers over $1500 in energy savings per year, and the savings increases the more one drives the EV.  The study also incorporates projected oil prices (assuming the conditions of "Peak Oil" do not obtain) and compares it with projected technological improvements in battery design, further demonstrating that an EV cars are the future of personal transportation, even over the hybrid. "Even the best of [hybrids] is still very poor compared to typical EV efficiency, which is about 4 times that of gasoline engines. Future optimization of EV designs will likely maintain this 4-to-1 ratio, even compared to these higher cost engine improvements" (EVWorld, 2012, link below).  But for those of us who drive small gasoline-powered cars are in for a shock.  From the report: "[G]asoline engines face twice as high a hurdle than 4-to-1. As calculated [herein], the cost of gasoline is about 8 times that of electricity as a fuel; so if gasoline engine efficiency is to improve enough to compensate for price, then it must improve enough to create an engine that is almost 200% energy efficient, which is an impossible violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics."  Good luck with that, gasoline internal combustion engine!


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