“It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” – Mark Twain
If you have a degree in the hard sciences, you already know what I’m about to discuss. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and there’s no such thing as perpetual motion machines. If you want to do work of any kind, it requires energy. One must create that energy, or at least convert it from another form, in order to do that work. Most forms of energy production we do are chemical transformations of some sort. When you eat food, your body chemically decomposes the meal into a form it can use to drive your muscles, and keep circulating your blood, and so on. When you pour gasoline into your fuel tank, and it goes forward into your engine, where it’s ignited and turned into a forceful combustion, to push pistons that reciprocate, turning your crankshaft and so on, you’re also doing a chemical transformation. When you store energy in a battery cell, then retrieving it to drive your electric motor(s), you’re again doing a chemical transformation, in reverse of the sort of chemical transformation that occurred when you charged the batteries. Before you could charge the battery, however, the current with which you charged it had to be generated somewhere, and in a few cases, that was accomplished by nuclear reactions, or thermal, wind, solar and hydroelectric power generation, but throughout the world, the main source is through the burning of some sort of fuel in another chemical transformation into power to generate electricity. This is reality, and even(and especially) Elon Musk knows it. This poses a serious problem for the scam artists. They can fool you on the front end, but in the long run, you’ll eventually convince yourself that you’ve been fooled. Electric vehicles, as they’re being proposed to consumers, are a complete, utter scam, and every serious scientist knows it, and every engineer understands it.
I want you to watch the video below. It’s just less than sixteen minutes, but it’s worth it. I don’t know whether he’s exposing insanity or possibly suffering from it. There are important lessons to be garnered here, but most importantly, you can finally put to rest the insanity of the electric vehicle scam.
The gentleman who made this video seems earnest enough. My point here is not to criticize him, personally, but to confront what this video lays bare about electric vehicles. His chief complaint with his Tesla EV seems to be that he doesn’t like the lengthy charging sessions, or the lack of availability of charging stations, but he also mentions his dislike of stopping to refuel a gasoline car. i suppose he wants a forever-mobile, a kind of perpetual motion machine, that requires no charging, no refueling, and presumably, no maintenance or much of anything else. He wants to be able to get in and drive until he’s ready to stop, to re-commence his travels at any time he pleases. Who wouldn’t like that?
Obviously, he’s noticed that his Tesla requires recharging ‒ lots and lots of recharging. If he only drove a few miles per day, he might well be able to subsist with his Tesla, at least until the very large, very expensive battery inevitably dies permanently, no longer able to be re-charged. His solution here is to take a generator, driven by a 13HP gasoline engine, install it under the hatch of his car, in the area usually called “the trunk.” Along with this, he’s also installed a gasoline tank, and all the plumbing and wiring to make this work. He removed his rear window, created a weather-exposed zone in his trunk, hooking it all up so that the generator will charge his Tesla’s batteries, even while riding down the road, thereby extending his range, and giving himself a built-in charger. I’ve seen others try similar approaches by simply pulling a small trailer with a generator bolted-down, accomplishing the same thing, but adding the problems associated with a trailer. I’ve seen others put a portable generator in the trunk that they can simply pull out and run to re-charge the car if they completely discharge between charging stations, but that cannot be run going down the road.
In the video, he takes this contraption on an 1800 mile journey of several days, the goal being never to stop for a charge. Along the way, he stopped by a friend’s house, a friend who has a jet engine mounted on a pontoon boat(and I’d urge his friend to rethink the simple flat screen guard on that engine,) but a couple of things become apparent through the course of the video:
- His generator is insufficient to keep up with his Tesla’s power consumption at highway speeds.
- He is forced to refuel his “Cordless Tesla” several times, probably daily.
- He has this noisy contraption running everywhere he goes, and must leave it running overnight while he sleeps in hotels.
- It’s so noisy that people call the police.
- The police stop him once because he’s driving too slowly on the highway as he attempted to match consumption to his insufficient generation.
While he was considerate enough to park it well away from the hotels so that it probably wasn’t too annoying to guests, he stopped at one restaurant, and I’m pretty certain that if I had been the owner of said eatery, I’d have asked him to shut it down while he dined. At the end, he summarized his experience, and also displayed the mileage his “Cordless Tesla” was getting:
With all of this said and done, at the completion of his trip, he notes the shortcomings, and since along the way, he visited a Kohler Engines facility, I can only imagine that he intends to install an even larger generator in an attempt to improve his results. What he may achieve is to extend his duration, but what he will not change is the left-hand column on the chart above, except perhaps to worsen it with a larger, heavier generator installed. A larger generator will likely necessitate a larger fuel tank or severely reduced expectations, but what I must say is that I truly want to congratulate him.
He’s built an undisguised fossil-fuel-powered Tesla EV.
He undertook this project apparently to address the shortcomings of his Tesla, and all EVs in general. What he succeeding in doing is to prove that only larger internal combustion engines can actually accomplish his desired outcome. He still has the fuel stops. He still has the noise(much more, actually.) He has a doubling of the expense. He still has a giant battery pack that when it dies, will cost more than his eventual final generator, fuel tank, plumbing, and wiring, and he’s still burning so-called fossil fuels for the pleasure. I don’t think his rig would be legal in California, either for the noise, or for the fact that they’re banning all outdoor gas-powered equipment like chainsaws and lawn-mowers and generators, so not much use there. And then there’s this:
My last long trip in our 2013 Ford F350 Crew-cab, diesel 4WD truck was around 1250 miles each way. On the highway, I averaged 70-75mph, depending on the speed limits, of course, but on that trip, the diesel truck managed to get 19.3 MPG. I stopped twice for fuel, each way, topping-off a little before hitting the road for the return trip. At roughly the half-way point on the way home, after topping off, my range said 647 miles. Of course, it also sips diesel exhaust fluid. That’s a truck that likely weighs well beyond double what the diminutive Tesla weighs. I made the same trip a couple years before in my Mustang GT, which is probably closer to the same weight. I averaged, well, let’s say “the same speed.” In that car, I managed 23.7 MPG, though in honesty, if I’d made more judicious use of my accelerator pedal, I might have done somewhat better. The point is, neither of the vehicles I mention are “fuel misers.”
The truth of all of this is that you can’t hide from reality in the end. Physics is. Chemistry is. Math is. Some people need to spend a good deal more time at all three. The truth, however, is more plain when it’s undisguised. That’s the one thing this gentleman, the owner of the Youtube channel Warped Perception has fully exposed. I’m not sure if that had been his motive, but if so, he’s succeeded. His other Youtube channel is called Matt’s Lab, where he describes himself this way: “I’m an Engineer, lover of Science and Mechanics and also a Filmmaker.” If he’s an actual engineer, he surely knows all of this, but again, that may have been his point: All EVs are at least in part powered by fossil fuels. That’s because the electricity being generated elsewhere to charge the EV is probably burning fossil fuels. You can’t escape it. The idea that we can replace internal combustion engines in any practical sense with EVs is simply madness. In his attempt to make his Tesla EV more practical, what he’s done is to simply unmask the whole EV scam.
The one thing that actually is more efficient about his mobile power-generation, at least theoretically, lies in the fact that there aren’t many miles of cabling between the source of the energy and its destination in the Tesla’s batteries. You see, much energy is lost in the transportation of energy because of a little thing called “resistance.” Measured in Ohms, it’s a measure of how much impedance a given current encounters while traversing a given conductor or device. Rubber is a very poor conductor, which is why it’s often used as an insulator on cabling, while copper and gold are excellent conductors, as are most metals. Aluminum is common in transmission lines, but one of the problems with aluminum is that it has higher resistance to current than copper, but because it’s lighter and much cheaper, it’s used there. Chances are, the power cable that runs from the transformer on the pole near your home is aluminum. In any event, for every mile and foot of cable between the power plant and your home, energy is being bled-out by this resistance in the form of heat and electromagnetic radiation. It’s one of the costs of an extensive, lengthy distribution grid. You’re bleeding energy all the way from the source to its point of use. In this sense, his “Cordless Tesla” exposes another problem people don’t understand in this discussion generally: In most instances, it is far more efficient to generate power where it’s being used, rather than to generate it at a distance, transmit it over miles of cable, through transformers, and ultimately into a chemical storage device(battery) from which it will be again transformed back into current on demand. At each transformation along its path, and in the process of storing it and then pulling it from storage, there is a certain amount of loss built into each step.
He could make his generation more efficient by getting an even larger generator, and just driving the electric motors directly from the generator. To get the acceleration he sees now, however, he’d need a really large generator to produce the bursts of current he’d need, and transformers, as well as more weight and more fuel. At that point, he’d be better off simply getting rid of the generator, keeping the motor, and hooking it directly to his transmission, and then do you know what he’d have? A standard gasoline-powered car. In the end, you have a vehicle just like the ones we’ve been driving for generations. Problem solved. Genius!
The most efficient solution that would also be as practical as gasoline or diesel engine is something else entirely, assuming you’re dead-set on getting rid of fossil fuels: Hydrogen. You can even keep the internal combustion engines. All you need is hydrogen, which is in every molecule of water on Earth. The problem is storing it. You can derive hydrogen by simply using an electrical process to split the water molecule into its constituents, using electrical current. The tricky part is that hydrogen in any quantity is quite combustible, and explosive. There are methods for storing hydrogen that would be completely safe, or at least as safe as gasoline. If the society used primarily nuclear power, augmented by wind, solar, geothermal, and hydroelectric, the problem becomes much easier to address. You could have a hydrogen station anywhere you have a supply of water and electricity, which means they could be as widely distributed as gasoline, diesel, and other fossil-fuels. Gas stations would be replaced/upgraded to hydro-electrolysis stations. The best news is that the exhaust from your car would be heat and water vapor. Quick fill-ups, back on the road in minutes, with the convenience and range to which you’re accustomed, with the added benefit of a mostly clean exhaust stream, all of which could be yours without the EV scam, and reliance on China for rare Earth minerals and the ecological catastrophe of battery disposal for the cells used by EVs. You’d still need your common lead-acid batteries, just like the ones you use now, but that’s not an obstacle.
People buying into the Electric Vehicles are being scammed. There are many hidden costs people don’t yet see, although the impracticability of these EVs becomes pretty plain to most folks who buy them. Early indicators are that many people who buy one EV are unlikely to buy a second. This is a bit like Biden voters: Having chosen him once, many aren’t apt to do so again. Obviously then, while it’s harder to convince people they’ve been fooled than it had been to fool them in the first instance, it’s clear that one’s wallet is a powerful persuader.