Sunday, November 03, 2019

Batteries — The New Perpetual Motion Machine.

We've all seen it, many times in fact. Someone starts to go on (and on, and on, and on, ad infinitum) about the many miraculous powers of the electric car. They will end all pollution, they will stop the oceans from rising, they will feed the poor, clothe the naked, stop babies from crying, and perform many other miracles daily.

And of course, woe be unto all you heathens who say otherwise.

Now, I'm an Engineer by training. Being an engineer is like being a Marine. You don't join the Marines, you become a Marine. Well the same is true of Engineers. You don't learn Engineering, you become an Engineer. We have different thought processes than the rest of you, because we've been trained into it (I once had to prove this to a lawyer, he was quite shocked). The entire first two years in Engineering school is all about teaching you to think about things differently. And you get rewarded when you do, but I digress.

So, back in the day (up until the 70s sadly), perpetual motion machines were all the rage (they still are among the uneducated — which is anyone who hasn't studied physics, that stuff they used to teach in high school). Well in my High School physics class we went into great detail about why they don't work. In my college physics classes, we revisited that whole notion again and were yet again shown why they didn't work, only now we went into things like the 'Three Laws of Thermodynamics' to get down to the nuts and bolts of it.

And then electrical cars came about and a whole group of people lost their minds.

Now let's clear up a misnomer: Today's electric cars are really Battery Powered Cars. Yes, they have electric motors and run off of electricity, but as in all things, the devil is in the details. Battery powered cars are a dead end. They are un-economical, they pollute (horrendously), and they are dangerous. Far more dangerous than a petrol, or gasoline, or diesel, powered vehicle.

'But how can this be?' you ask. 'We've been told that electric cars are the way, the light, and the second coming of environmental glory!' Well yeah, there's a simple explanation of that. It's called: LYING. Everything you've been told is a lie. And please, hold the shocked expressions and the gasps of incredulity. Governments are more shocking when they tell the truth. Lying is what they do the rest of the time.

Now, while electric cars themselves are an interesting idea that may one day go past the 'fad' stage, Battery Powered Cars are a joke. A dead end. Something that has failed every single time it's been tried, and the only reason they've gotten as far as they have this time is because of the massive amounts of your tax dollars the government has pumped into it, so it isn't readily apparent that all of the companies doing it are losing money. (The same is true for Wind Power and Solar Power — but that's a topic for another day).

There is only so much electrical power that a battery can hold. And that's a lot less than the same volume or weight of gasoline. Some people will then say 'but we just need better batteries'. Well no, you need to change the laws of physics, and unless God himself comes down from heaven and makes it so, it ain't happening. I've had this argument with people who should know better, but sadly they apparently never took a physics class in their life.

Next is the whole 'but electric cars don't pollute' lie. No, they pollute, and odds are they pollute more than a fossil fuel vehicle. How? Well that power has to be generated somewhere and the same 'electric car' progressives are also 'anti-nuclear power' luddites. So all that power is generated by gas, oil, or coal, (and please don't bring up wind or solar, they're net negatives in the power generation world and generate a lot of pollution as well). So the energy for your electric car is generated at a fossil fuel plant, possibly as far as thousand miles away (if you live in California, that's almost a guarantee), and because of physics (that ole party-pooper) they have to generate more power than you need, because a fair deal of it will disappear on its trip from the power plant to your house.

So no, you're not being 'economical' you're being wasteful.

Now let's take a look at those batteries. They're just full of harmful, deadly, and very toxic, substances. Making them is very much an ecological nightmare so what do you think disposing of them is going to be? They're going to need special and very expensive treatment involving a lot of very toxic and harmful chemicals. Or you could just ship them to some third world country were they'll throw 'em all in a pit and bulldoze dirt over them and create a new Love Canal that'll be someone else's problem. So the construction and disposal of those batteries from your Battery Powered Car do more polluting than any fossil fuel powered car out there. Actually I wouldn't be surprised to discover that a coal-burning car generates less pollutants in its lifetime.

And don't forget! Those batteries are only going to last five to seven years, and then you have to replace them! At great cost too! Kinda kills the resale market, doesn't it?

Next of course are the hazards. We've all seen gas powered cars blow up in the movies, but we know that's Hollywood. Cars burn, and the gas tank can 'explode' but it's not that big of a deal. The fire is easily contained and burns out in twenty minutes, tops. But electric cars? They burn for days. That's right, an electric car catches fire? Well hope you have a few days to sit around and baby-sit it. Because that sucker is going to burn for a very long time. Hopefully it won't go off in a massive explosion that levels everything around it (BLEVE), these days that's rare, but it has happened and will happen again.

Oh, and don't forget that the site of your electric car fire is now a hazardous waste site that will cost tens of thousands of dollars to clean up.

So yes, Battery Powered Cars are stupid. They only exist in the numbers that they do because the government (which means you) is paying for them. They are, in effect, this generation's 'Perpetual Motion Machines', a stupid, idiotic, and pointless waste of time, effort and our tax dollars.

Again, I have nothing against electric cars, just Battery Powered Cars. If the people (and the government) behind electric cars were serious, and not just a bunch of folks looking for easy government handouts (and the attendant government corruption that comes with all scam programs) they would be investigating and developing Fuel Cell technology. Fuel Cells have the benefit of low (or no) emissions, and can be quickly 'recharged' like say, filling a gas tank. They're also smaller, say gas tank sized, unlike the gigantic batteries in Battery Powered Cars.


  1. I have tried to explain this to people, about how difficult it will be when the batteries reach the end of their service cycle to handle the toxic waste. I've also expressed the fact that the power originates from fossil fuels and how it's not efficient due to the transitions of mechanical energy to electrical energy to storage of and conversion back to mechanical energy. Also how a fuel cell would be a much more efficient and cleaner approach to the problem. You have put it so eloquently. As you know I'm a self educated designer. Not an engineer by the standard definition. I've always had an interest in how things work and why they work. We are on the same page with this one. What I don't get and never will is how easily people people of all education levels do not think things through.

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    1. You're wrong on so many details I don't know if it's really worth wasting the time to tell you where.

      Batteries are limited by the laws of physics as to how much power they can hold. Gasoline is far less toxic than any battery. Hydrocarbons are natural, whether you choose to admit it or not and there are organisms that will break them down.

      Battery cars burning for long periods of time is easy to look up. When Richard Hammond crashed that one battery car it burned for two days.

      No, the US government is not subsidizing the US oil industry. Tax breaks, depreciation, those are not subsidies. Subsidies are when you PAY money to somebody. Like the US government PAYS money to all battery powered car manufacturers.

      The US government isn't in the ME for oil. Man, if I had a dollar for every time I heard THAT myth. Most ME oil goes to Europe, not the USA. American petroleum companies are not even in the top ten of all oil companies. I don't know if there are any US oil companies even in the ME anymore.

      Fossil fuel cars are going to doom us? Please.

      And oh, you're a technician, how nice. I'm an Electrical Engineer with a minor in Aeronautics.


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