Powered by Coal

Powered by Coal

All the Tesla Supercharger pylons in Price, Utah have neatly printed black stickers just under the Tesla lettering, which read "POWERED BY COAL". According to Wikipedia, coal is indeed the primary power generation fuel in Utah, accounting for about 5gW of generation.

(I would post a photo had we still the ability to put photos in messages. Doesn't seem worth the bother without image tags.)

I suppose the point was to...well, actually I don't know what the point was. To make me realize that my car isn't REALLY zero pollution? Green shaming?

Oh, well, it's wasted on me. I wouldn't care if my S90D ran on the tears of tortured baby unicorns. It's just that good. In the meantime there seem to be few if any gas stations in Price, as I heard a motorcyclist and car driver in the same parking lot complaining about being unable to find one. So there's that.

Bighorn | April 17, 2017

Hard to know the motivation. When the WY legislature recently debated allowing Tesla to open sales/service venues, it was argued that it was a pro-coal move. It passed.

Madatgascar | April 17, 2017

Yeah, well, Tesla could also put their money where their mouth is and demonstrate exactly how easy (or hard) it is to run some of these Superchargers on solar. Pick a highway, say the 10 (lots of SCs still to be built, nothing but cheap land and sunshine all around) and build enough solar and batteries to run the SCs.

Granted, these would be super expensive SCs. But imagine how powerful it would be to show that you could drive X thousand miles on nothing but solar power, and how it would differentiate Tesla from other EVs that will inevitably rely on grid power everywhere.

vp09 | April 17, 2017

No torturing of unicorns

Garyeop | April 17, 2017

OMG @Dramsey. You just gave me a bumper sticker worthy of a Tesla. "Runs on the tears of tortured baby Unicorns" so I can lose my "Nuke a whale for Christ".

Remnant | April 18, 2017

@Garyeop (April 17, 2017)

<< OMG @Dramsey. You just gave me a bumper sticker worthy of a Tesla. "Runs on the tears of tortured baby Unicorns" so I can lose my "Nuke a whale for Christ". >>

Hey, Gary, you're an amazing spew of puke.

In just two lines, you've managed to offend God, Christians, Tesla, Whales, and Unicorns, equally badly.

SamO | April 18, 2017

That's what we call the perfect joke

Dramsey | April 18, 2017

I find things like the "POWERED BY COAL" stickers amusing. Are people really so threatened? Curiously, I've never run into this attitude among my fellow Reno Mustang Car Club members, who universally regard my Mod S as insanely cool. This includes crotchety old-timers who've spend literally decades working on a single classic Mustang.

Also, @Remnant, if you get that bumper sticker made, you have to "(tm) dramsey" on it!

stevenmaifert | April 18, 2017

Same for the Green River, Utah Supercharger: I would be surprised if Tesla had anything to do with putting those stickers on.

SamO | April 18, 2017

Nevadans are notoriously anti-establishment and that includes "big energy."

But I've heard many sailors talk about not caring if a ship "runs on the tears of unicorns" so sorry, no copyright for you @dramsey. And trademarks denote goods or services. You can claim neither.

Bighorn | April 18, 2017

I saw a bumper sticker on a truck with a Friends of Coal bumpersticker:

"Earth First--We'll mine the other planets later"

mark.willing | April 18, 2017

Tesla just might have to require that their charging stations have Tesla solar panels and Powerpack battery storage. Eliminate the naysayers. I'll would not mind the pay-per-charge, if that were the case.

MitchP85D | April 18, 2017

I always thought the price I paid for my P85D already had the supercharger use factored in! I am all for coal power. It keeps the price of our fuel low. Plus, that gives an incentive for the general public to buy more Teslas!

SO | April 18, 2017

Add another sticker below it stating: (Because we are short sighted fools who do not embrace renewables.)

The coal argument is so stupid. As soon as you make the grid cleaner, every EV getting power from that grid gets cleaner. Not sure why that is so difficult to understand for many people.

SO | April 18, 2017

Ah Mitch. Yet again you only factor the direct costs and somehow totally ignore the externalities that can actually kill you. Let alone the extra costs we have wasted to protect those oil interests. *sigh*

SO | April 18, 2017

(And coal interests)

DTsea | April 18, 2017

Coal power charging an EV is still less environmental impact than an ICE.

DTsea | April 18, 2017

Coal power charging an EV is still less environmental impact than an ICE.

Earl and Nagin ... | April 18, 2017

@DTsea, +1. That is the most important thing to keep in perspective.
A coal-fired electricity powered EV is about the same or better than oil driven ICE today (depending on who's data and assumptions one uses). It only gets better in the future.

The cheap price of coal-fired electricity makes it the best bait-and-switch ever (in a good way). Get people in coal states to buy EVs because their cheap electricity makes them a steal to drive. The increased sales volumes this will drive will make EVs cheaper to manufacture. Then, as we move away from coal, even if it is to more expensive sources in the near term, EV costs will remain low.
Unfortunately, so many narrow-minded 'environmentalists' have committed themselves to being so anti-coal that they can't see this.

Remnant | April 18, 2017

@Dramsey (April 18, 2017)

<< Also, @Remnant, if you get that bumper sticker made, you have to "(tm) dramsey" on it! >>

OK, @Dramsey, I am acknowledging here your authorship of the crude joke regarding "the tears of tortured baby unicorns" (Sam's sailors failed to notice that the crying Unicorn babies were tortured, so you one-upped them on that count), but, since @Garyeop sank it from crude to offensive, I felt he deserved his share of credit for such a priceless Hafnerian contribution.

However, forgive me if I don't put your joke on my bumper; I'm a bit oversensitive about tortured baby Unicorns

Regarding the "POWERED BY COAL" vandals in Price, UT, we need to note that their claim can only be a local grid issue, so it's going to vary with the place and the time of recharge and only concern the origin, but not the use of the power. The use of the Tesla power is always pure BEV, i.e., GHG/CO2/particulate-emission free.

So if your Price vandals are not the kind who encourage free speech by baseball-bat beatings and by stabbings or gun fire, you could talk to them and explain why they are wrong when they say Teslas are powered by coal.

Dramsey | April 18, 2017

Shrug. I don't really care what Luddites think about Teslas; electric is better, and electric is going to win. ICE will be reserved for special-use and hobby/enthusiast vehicles.

I find the impotent bleatings of the folks who think slapping "powered by coal" stickers on Superchargers to be some sort of brave social commentary (I'm sure it was done in the dead of night) to be amusing, in a pathetic sort of way.

SUN 2 DRV | April 18, 2017


"And still cleaner than a gasoline powered car."

Earl and Nagin ... | April 18, 2017

Let's put that under the graffiti on those Superchargers!

Bighorn | April 18, 2017

100% ISIS-free fuel

SUN 2 DRV | April 18, 2017

BH: Excellent point!

Dramsey | April 18, 2017

Well, moderate point. Most oil used in the United States-- about 75%-- is domestically produced, and only about 1/3 of the remaining 25% comes from OPEC countries, so your normal pump gas is about 83% ISIS-free.

fholley | April 18, 2017

I love my Tesla and know that I'm different from most EV owners, but the main reason I bought it is so my vehicle would be powered by coal and natural gas produced right here in Ohio instead of oil coming from countries that support terrorism.

RedPillSucks | April 18, 2017

The thing about electricity generated by coal is that it may not always be generated by coal.
So while an ICE car will always use the same dirty power source, an EV gets cleaner as
its power source gets cleaner.

SCCRENDO | April 18, 2017

Utah with its natural beauty is a "dirty" state. It needs to change. But there will be far less incentive under our present regime.

The question is whether Tesla and indeed all of us should boycott Utah. I believe we need to compromise at this point and do what we need to do advance the spread and mobility of Tesla. In time Utah's fuel can be cleaned up. I would strongly recommend that Tesla make it a priority to provide solar panels at all superchargers in the dirtiest states.

Interestingly I live in the city of Anaheim, California. I generate most of my electricity from solar panels. In general California electricity is among the cleanest in the nation. But Anaheim is its own utility providing cheap electricity. How do they make it so cheap? It is mostly coal from from Utah.

We all need to do our part and try to become as green as possible. And I strongly object to the common denier argument that if you cannot be 100% green, why bother

MitchP85D | April 18, 2017

Speaking of coal, look what just opened in Southeast Texas. Clean coal! And it is more than just a slogan. Read all about it.

The irony is that the Obama DOE poured a bunch of money in this project!

SO | April 19, 2017

@dramsey - "Most oil used in the United States-- about 75%..."

Your stats miss the point entirely. Just because most of our oil is produced here doesn't change the fact that oil is priced and sold on a world market. The fact that we use so much oil, helps contribute to the overall price of the oil. Which drives up the price and therefore makes oil more valuable overseas. So ISIS and Middle East countries can still profit from our oil addiction. So again....people who keep pointing to the fact that oil is produced in North America, seem to keep forgetting that other bad people outside of North America profit from it.

SO | April 19, 2017

No such thing as "clean coal". Only...."slightly less dirty" coal.

As far as the Obama DOE supporting it, if it met the criteria of the DOE guidelines, then it would be funded. The DOE knew that it couldn't just flip a switch in all states to go 100% renewable. It's a slow process.

SUN 2 DRV | April 19, 2017

Dramsey: BH had a MAJOR point. 100% ISIS free is SIGNIFICANTLY better than 83% ISIS free, as it reduces ISIS's income from the fuel all the way to ZERO.

mschaffer11 | April 19, 2017

That Mitchy thinks "Watts...whatever" is a legitimate source of contextually accurate and factual information show that Mitchy is completely incompetent.

MitchP85D | April 19, 2017

Face it. We humans love energy. We are living longer, healthier, and are more prosperous because of it. We love the fact that we can adjust the temperature in our homes by the touch of a thermostat. We love the fact that we can hop in (or on - motorcycle) a motor vehicle to transport ourselves from point A to point B. We love the fact that we can preserve our food with refrigeration. We love the fact that we can flick on a switch to turn a light on at night. And yes, cost is the primary factor that allows the general population to share in these modern day comforts of life.

I can't help but notice that some here are so snooty and elitist that they think only the anointed ones, the socially just ones, the privileged, should be allowed to share in the benefits energy provides for us. Libertarian minded folks like me see right through this attitude of the "superior ones." And coal is "exhibit A" in this conflict between the anointed ones and the general population. And the reason for this is obvious to anybody who knows anything about energy production. Coal is the primary reason why the cost of electricity is so cheap. And the problems associated with coal have already been solved by scrubbers filtering out the real air pollution - aerosols. Anybody who is against coal is basically somebody who is opposed to cheap energy. And when folks like me point this out, the anointed ones squeal CLIMATE CHANGE DENIER and other various nonsensical phrases like that.

The coal burning era will go down in history as a major step up or advancement from the wood burning era. Can you imagine what would happen to our forests if we were still burning wood for our energy needs? But like what always happens with our advancing civilization, something better and cheaper will come along, and it will replace coal. And the best way for this to happen is to allow the markets to sort this out. Solar has the phenomenon of NIGHT to contend with. Wind power has the phenomenon of STAGNANT HIGH PRESSURE SYSTEMS to contend with. Right now, wind and solar have to be supplemented with fossil fuel energy. But eventually, the engineering problems of wind and solar will be figured out, and will become major players in our energy production. Be patient! THE WORLD IS NOT COMING TO AN END!

SUN 2 DRV | April 19, 2017

Mitch: Most of the Tesla crowd is not happy just accepting the status quo. They want the latest and greatest and want to push technology and the world FORWARD, and not just accept last century's energy source. Sure coal WAS helpful in ushering in an era of lower cost energy. But we need and want to move past that to something plentiful, clean and renewable. Energy storage is the holy grail that firms up the huge but intermittent wind and solar energy sources. California is getting along just fine without coal, you can too.

SCCRENDO | April 19, 2017

Mitch. When those of us with understanding realize that coal is a severe pollutant and contributes significantly to climate change we try provide alternatives. "Clean coal" is better than dirty coal but if you read my links you would realize that it is far more expensive and not completely clean. It's like a hooker claiming she is a virgin. So that's why we are moving towards cleaner sources of energy and subsidies may need to be provided to achieve this.

MitchP85D | April 19, 2017

If clean coal is as expensive as you claim it is, it will show up in our electricity bills. I, for one, pays attention to how many cents per kwh I pay. Something tells me I am not alone!

SamO | April 19, 2017

Texas is the leader in wind energy production, Mithc. They want nothing to do with more coal.

SCCRENDO | April 19, 2017
holidayday | April 19, 2017

Mitch: "If clean coal is as expensive as you claim it is, it will show up in our electricity bills."

Not if there are cheaper alternatives, Utilities will use those, not coal. Utilities are still business that need to build economically viable plants that make money. They'll build what is economically feasible (like more gas plants) that make them money. If the exact same power has a higher cost, they'll avoid it.

carlgo2 | April 19, 2017

Gas comes from Unicorns as their diet is all fiber. Of course it is sparkly and smells like wild flowers. This is much better than coal, which is nasty and comes from the bowels of the earth.

johnse | April 19, 2017

Big problem with the TX carbon capture system is that it doesn't scale.
They are cleaning less than 10% of their generation output. That CO2 is then being consumed and sequestered by use in an oil field 80 miles away. They boasted an expected output from the oil field of 15K Bbl per day, or 11 years to push out the estimated 60M Bbl reserve (they didn't point out the short time horizon there). So what are they going to do with the CO2 generated after that time frame? What are they going to do with the 90% of CO2 produced at this one power plant that is not being scrubbed? If they scrub it all, what are they going to do with the 50,000 tons of CO2 captured per day?

We need better ways of handling that CO2 that doesn't involve building pipelines all over the country and doesn't use it to mine even more non-renewable fuel.

Dramsey | April 19, 2017


"The fact that we use so much oil, helps contribute to the overall price of the oil. Which drives up the price and therefore makes oil more valuable overseas."

Um, you caught the part where we drove world oil prices down-- WAY down-- in the last few years, right? There was this thing called fracking.

RedShift | April 19, 2017


Also, reduced demand. Please have the complete picture pleas. Otherwise we will end up with one of those conservative bubble world views again.

SCCRENDO | April 19, 2017

@dramsey. Somehow you believe fracking is something good???

SO | April 20, 2017

Dramsey - um.... you get the concept of much less demand driving down prices...right?

Prices went down due to higher production...true.

But they would drop much farther to where countries could not even consider that their primary source of income. Come on should have learned that in high school Econ. (Or earlier).

SO | April 20, 2017

@SCCRENDO - "Somehow you believe fracking is something good???"

Should we really be surprised? People like him could cough up their own lung from working in a coal mine but somehow still support coal and brag how cheap it is.

MitchP85D | April 20, 2017

According to the U.S Energy Information Administration, in 2016 natural gas-fired generators accounted for 42% of the operating electricity generating capacity in the United States. Natural gas provided 34% of total electricity generation in 2016, surpassing coal to become the leading generation source.

So, yes fracking is good!

SamO | April 20, 2017

90% of all lamps are supplied by whale oil so . . . good?