I started blogging because I was always frustrated in live arguments that I would remember the killer comment 5 minutes too late, so it is no surprise that I find live TV frustrating. Here is how I had hoped the interview would go this morning on Fox. In actual execution, I decided not to play the "2nd law of thermodynamics" card on the morning show just after the in-studio visit by a bunch of bijon frise's.
I'm confused, why are we we even talking about miles per gallon in an electric car?
- We measure how well traditional cars use fossil fuels with the miles they drive per gallon of gas, or mpg
- Of course, we can't measure efficiency the same way in an electric car since they don't use gas directly, though the electricity we use to charge them is mostly produced from fossil fuels.
- So the EPA came up with a methodology to show an equivalent MPG for electric cars so their fossil fuel use (way back in the power plant) could be compared to traditional carsAnd you think there is a problem with those numbers?
- It turns out the EPA uses a flawed methodology that overstates the electric car equivalent MPG, in part because they assume the potential energy in fossil fuels can be converted to electricity in the power plant with perfect efficiency, which doesn't happen in real life and actually violate the second law of thermodynamicsHow should they have done it?
- During the Clinton administration, the Department of Energy came up with a better methodology which uses real world power plant efficiencies and fuel mixes to determine how much fuel went into charging an electric car.
- Using this methodology, the Fisker Karma, even in all-electric mode, gets about 19 mpg equivilent, not 52. This means that it uses about the same amount of fossil fuels to drive a mile as does a Ford Explorer SUV -- the only difference is that the fossil fuel use is better hidden.