I do not drive an electric car to reduce my “carbon footprint”

I’m a bit of a rare beast. I drive an electric car from Israeli electric car service provider Better Place yet I believe CO₂ is not a polluting chemical. If anything it is the most fundamental plant food on the planet.

While I don’t deny the world’s climate may be getting warmer, I’m completely unconvinced that 150 years of burning stuff by man is responsible for this and that we are clever enough to measure any affect we’ve had. *

So why did I spend my own money on an electric car if I think reducing my “carbon footprint” is less important than trying not to fart in an elevator?

One statistic: oil accounts for 95% of all transport power in the USA. It only accounts for less than 2% of electricity generation. Source: James Woolsey in WSJ April 2010:

Oil dominates transportation: About 95% of transportation fuel in the U.S. is derived from petroleum. And over three-quarters of the world’s reserves of conventional oil are in OPEC nations. But OPEC is pumping less than it did in the 1970s, despite a doubling in global demand, because it’s a cartel maximizing its income. OPEC sets oil’s price at a level that exploits our addiction but is generally not high enough for long enough that we go cold turkey.

What ever else we do, whether Israel or America drills, pumps or fractures its way to increased production, the men of OPEC will still be able to control the cost of oil and, living in Israel, I’m pretty sure what’s good for OPEC is bad for us.

Because whatever we do, the cheapest and easiest to pump oil will be in Saudi Arabia for many years to come.

If we ignore the hysterical climate alarmists, we have reasonable diversity In almost every other area of our energy use. We generate electricity from coal, gas, nuclear, hydro-electric, wind, solar and other sources. We heat our homes and water from a variety of fuels too. In Israel we have one of the highest usage rates of very cheap to instal thermal solar power to heat our hot water.

Only in transport are we slaves to oil. Diesel, gasoline, and jet fuel are completely dominant and this market is ruled by OPEC.

I’ll dismiss the entire notion of Hydrogen powered cars utterly: H₂ as a fuel for vehicles is a hoax and I’ve even driven an H₂ powered Hyundai. H₂ is a darling of the fuel companies but the infrastructure to fuel these cars is ridiculous and the cost of the cars just as bad.

So what else is there? Pure bio-fuels and mixtures are interesting and can definitely work but in the end they’re a stop gap. They don’t make us  efficient, they don’t make nasty emissions on the road go away and I’m not convinced that burning food is the way forward.

So I drive the world’s only affordable and practical electric car within the only system built to make an electric car a real get in and go replacement for oil. In pure energy terms my car converts 85% of the energy it is given into motion. The best liquid fuelled cars manage 35%. If they are used for taking kids 3km to the school and back, that number can be 15% or worse.

When you take your kids to school, 85% of the energy you paid the Saudis and their friends for, makes a whole lot of noise, makes your car’s engine hot and goes up in poisonous smoke (almost everything from the tailpipe except the CO₂ is poisonous). And a big chunk of your money is spent teaching hate and on rockets to re-supply Hamas and Hezbollah.

My car is powered predominantly by coal and gas shifting to more Israeli natural gas and even some solar power over the next few years. None of those fuels are controlled by a cartel of Jihad supporting countries.

My car is far nicer to drive than similarly priced gasoline modes. It’s smoother, quieter, faster and cheaper to drive too. And every single night a wire at home delivers a full tank to my car while I sleep. My kids, both below the age of 6, fight over who gets to plug it in and out.

I’ve driven many journeys beyond the range of my car’s battery by switching batteries in around 5 minutes, however most days I don’t have to switch as home charging is all the power I need.

The Better Place car is not exactly the same as a regular car, it’s a mild change of habits, but once changed the new habits are easy to get used to. And not stopping at smelly gas stations and paying for Jihadi rockets is still a joy.

As long as Better Place pulls though it’s current painful re-organisation (my belief is it will) it continues to represent one giant leap away from OPEC’s Sheiks while allowing us the freedom of personal transport that has revolutionised our lives.

Society should go on using even more energy and prosper from it. We can continue improving qualities of life and we can deal, using our amazing ingenuity, with any changes in climate that come our way. We’ll be fine as long as we don’t have to pay ridiculous sums of money to either OPEC or climatist scare mongers like Gore. Any questions?



Better Place Renault Fluence ZE parked on Sala ha Din St Jerusalem – Photo by Brian of London

* Nearly all of climate alarmism is based on computer simulations of the whole atmosphere of the earth. I spent a few years achieving a PhD in computational physics by developing a computer simulation of what happens in a 2cm³ volume of a homogeneous, non-Newtonian, flowing liquid. My simulation was about 60% correct compared with carefully controlled experimental reality for a future time period of a few minutes. That was much better than anything that came before it. As a result I don’t believe it’s possible to make any credible simulation of the entire atmosphere of the world.

About the Author
Brian of London made aliyah from the UK to Israel in 2009. For many years he has blogged and broadcast about Israel, technology and other subjects. Most recently he's focused on the experience of driving an electric car every day. Brian has a scientific PhD but today owns a business in Israel.