January 14,2018

“BUT I DIGRESS“ consists of “HEAD TREKS” that represent the conversion of random thoughts, sometimes in the form of “QUICK TREKS”, observations, philosophies and rants into a form of modern cursive expression better known as computer keyboarding. From time to time these thoughts are also summarized under the heading “IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN: QUESTIONS I CANNOT PRESENTLY ANSWER.”


Some months ago a journalist for a prominent Canadian newspaper published an article in support of battery electric vehicles (EV) as a more environmentally friendly alternative to internal combustion engines (ICE). This blog serves to rebut his thesis.

The journalist’s argument falls flat for a number reasons. Firstly his statement “in an age of global warming” presupposes as yet unproven scientific “fact” rather than opinion, thereby invalidating his underlying argument of the absolute superior morality of the battery electric vehicle over the internal combustion engine. Furthermore, the current diminishment in sunspot activity may actually be signalling the onset of a minor ice age, with future global warming being required to cope therewith; but that remains for another essay.

Secondly, in delineating his operational savings, he fails to take into account the massive government subsidies being thrown at the electric vehicle industry that completely neutralize, if not completely obliterate these “savings.” Lastly, he fails to recognize that electricity is not a natural element but must be generated.

Using the most recent data from the International Energy Agency, it can be noted that in 2014, world electrical generation was sourced 40% from coal, 21.6% from natural gas, 10.6% from nuclear reactors, 16.4% from hydro, 4.3% from oil and 6.3% from solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and waste. While these percentages may change over time, they are unlikely to materially do so over the 20 -25 year targeted times espoused by a number of governments for change from ICE to EV.

Ergo, and devoid of many other practicalities tied to the envisaged change, notably the millions of new charging stations required to service the forecast two billion vehicles by that time, the planet must await the invention of a truly efficient and ICE comparable battery. It can be argued that the world’s largest scientific failure has been the failure to invent and develop on a commercial scale such a battery. That over the time-framed “on the road to Damascus” this is likely to happen is conjectural while in the meantime, misplaced government ideologies continue the nearly bankrupting level of subsidies required to “compete” with ever cleaner internal combustion engines.

As a competitor offering the absolute same convenience and efficiency as the internal combustion engine, the lithium ion battery is a joke; and with its explosive tendencies, sometimes a dangerous one. Furthermore, like oil and gas, electricity must be stored for future use, and there is yet to be invented a battery of practical application in that regard.

Whether oil, gas, etc. is put directly into car engines or to produce the energy required to power electric vehicles, therefore becomes an exercise in a tight circle of contradiction, if not farce; which of course is the strength of Gorism, Suzukism, Muskism et al.

Copyright © 2018 Ian de W. Semple

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January, 2018