How Accurate is the Press Coverage on Electric Vehicles?

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I’m glad to see so much coverage of electric transportation in the mainstream press. You know you’re making headway when msn.com is running “The Five Things You Should Know About Electric Vehicles” among its up-to-the-minute coverage of Brittany Spears, Charlie Sheen and hot guacamole recipes for Super Sunday.

However, with that much exposure – especially to people who may be just starting out on their path to learn about all this EV stuff — comes the responsibility to tell the story correctly.

Below is an excerpt of part of the discussion. Is it wrong? Very. Why? I don’t know. It would seem that making a call or two to check the facts with a subject-matter expert before publishing an article on one of the largest websites on Earth would be a strong idea.

“….Most utility plants burn coal to produce electricity. So is this “greener” than driving a gasoline car? It looks like the answer is yes, but not by much. Different regions of the country have cleaner power than others, so it matters where you live. The time of day also matters: Charge up at night and you’re probably using coal. Charge during the day and there’s a better chance it’s natural gas or nuclear power, both of which have lower emissions.”

In truth, because coal-fired power plants run 24 hours per day at the same rate of production, 80% of the off-peak power (at night) is dumped, as it’s generally too expensive to store. Charging an EV at night (the norm, of course) uses power that otherwise would have been wasted. According to reports I’ve seen, we could put 90 million EVs on the road this afternoon with very little impact on the grid. That’s quite a few.

Again, a five-minute call to EVWorld.com or dozens of other places would clear all this up, thus avoiding misinforming millions of people trying to make sense of an important new phenomenon.

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  • Robin

    It appears that you to are guilty of lack of clarity in your “facts”.

    1) Coal fired plants do not run flat out 24 hrs a day

    2) Coal fired plants are not ONE generator there are several generators in each plant, each being turned on and off as they are needed

    3) No power company will “dump load” for long periods of time, they “dump” durring the time it takes to take the individual generator off line, It can take a long time to shut down one generator durring that time the excess is dumped.